Tarfia Faizullah

1 E R

100 Bells

My sister died. He raped me. They beat me. I fell
to the floor. I didn’ t. I knew children,
their smallness. Her corpse. My fingernails.
The softness of my belly, how it could
double over. It was puckered, like children,
ugly when they cry. My sister died
and was revived. Her brain burst
into blood. Father was driving. He fell
asleep. They beat me. I didn’ t flinch. I did.
It was the only dance I knew.
It was the kathak. My ankles sang
with 100 bells. The stranger
raped me on the fitted sheet.

En Route to Bangladesh, Another Crisis of Faith

Because I must walk
through the eye-shaped
shadows cast by these
curved gold leaves thick
atop each constructed
palm tree, past displays
of silk scarves, lit
silhouettes of blue-bottled
perfume — because
I grip, as though for the first
time, a paper bag
of french fries from McDonald's,
and lick, from each fingertip,

Reading Celan at the Liberation War Museum


In a courtyard, in these stacks of chairs
before the empty stage — near are
we Lord, near and graspable. Lord,
accept these humble offerings:

stacks of biscuits wrapped in cellophane,
stacks of bone in glass: thighbone,
spine. Stacks of white saucers, porcelain
circles into which stacks of lip-worn