“It’s easy, impossible, hard, worth trying.”
~ Wislawa Szymborska, “Portrait of a Woman” (1976)

She is intimately attached
To night and day.
Only the world is bewildering.
It isn’t her fruit for the taking. She will have to snatch it, leave her bite-marks.
She has other concerns.
Where to find herself? In the eyes
Of that man, sipping his coffee,
Speaking to her, as if to himself? That man,
Who has read so much,
Not enough to read her silence?
Not him. Not that man too, who decides
Her place in the sun. She does not want a world Where someone else tosses the coin.
She won’t play that game again. Man or woman,
They alone are best, who risk losing her.
Desire is not a cup of tea.
Her eyes are a rearview mirror. She knows
All that hides behind her back.
When she makes love, she worries about
The end. Only her cat knows
What bothers her, when she walks,
Or when she polishes the mirror: her luggage
Of memory. The cat meows, as if to say,
“I understand.”
You can’t mirror her. You won’t
Find her there. She is out,
Moving the streets of her dreams.
The world fails her everyday.
She won’t trade her anticipation
Of victory, for success.


Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee’s first book of poetry, Ghalib’s Tomb and other poems, was published by The London Magazine (2013). His book of political nonfiction, Looking for the Nation, has just been published by Speaking Tiger Books (2018).

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