Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 2



Wading through Jamuna

Rushda Rafeek


Nowhere do children run down temple stairs in the panic of dusk spread like a feast. Besmirched chests heave mantra and dashed coconut. God, a flush of mahal was camphor sweet. A crackle of himalayan smoke. Aarti of the absolute swung upon dull blue. Jewels of lime on Krishna blue. The deity blue tracing reeds where widows sat to whisper: Birth me benign. Scatter me splendorous. When they landed on his mouth like a sitar, you became sangeet. An invocation of shadows. Your grief firm as conch. Your misty dupatta blown soft, a brief cry unheard. Locust of oil-lamps shed into marigold water with dead lover’s ash. What shall remain of you is the stasis of distant bells sweeping away an ochreous mirage. Your ever searing desires fed to raven to raven to raven.


Rushda Rafeek: "I am currently based in Sri Lanka. Among the works published is a nomination for the Pushcart Prize, finalist of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize (2017) and winner of the Annual Nazim Hikmet Poetry Contest (2018)."




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