A Cloudless Night, an Eclipsed Moon by Papree Rahman

Published in Bengal Lights, Spring 2013.

The water pitcher lies empty near the faucet since midnight. Empty containers. The Nim bird trills. I remove Nuri’s quilt with a delicate foot. Carefully, I place the empty pitcher right beneath the faucet. The girl is sleeping deeply after the animal-burden of working all day; she lies motionless in exhaustion. A night free of the Nim bird’s call. It isn’t dawn yet. The sari of night is wrapped loosely around the body of dawn. I open the window to get rid of the stuffiness in the kitchen. Damp air pushes its way inside. I can see a water-nymph as she lies asleep beneath the sari of the night. Her rough hair lies spread out on the oily, grimy blackish pillow. Unfamiliar waters press within me. Cautiously, very carefully, I flow within Nuri’s lips.

In that night of the damp winds, the nearly speechless girl sits up startled. Gradually she grows motionless. She looks at me with moon-bright eyes. She twines my feet with the helplessness of a shrub or a vine. Her body slackens. I sweat cold. Moans break from the lips of the silent girl. The dawn sky that waited at the threshold shivers; dawn comes. And from then on, every night a bird flies in different directions in front of my eyes. I awaken. I fill the water containers to the brim. I fill myself to the brim…