Adeeba Shahid Talukder


My mother tells me this in the mornings over FaceTime, brow furrowed, washing all the dishes. Sometimes, her voice breaks.

She says I shouldn't be living alone, with no one to care for me when I get in one of my moods, or have a cold. It gets dark, too, so early, she says.

You're getting older, and there are such few boys.

* * *

Ammi, you've always been so soft. Smiling wide and almost smacking your lips when you tell me stories of the prophets, of how God graced them, how evil was undone.

In Greenwich Village there are satans, you say. Men who practice witchcraft and mix alcohol into your water.

There was a night when we could not find you, and I knew someone had tied knots in your hair. It was so cold that night, and we found you at last in Roosevelt Island, dancing on the rocks. You laughed and laughed, said you would feed all the fish in the river. Who, now, will marry you?

You're getting older, and there are such few boys.

Adeeba Shahid Talukder is a Pakistani-American poet and translator. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program, where she received her MFA in Creative Writing. She translates Urdu and Persian poetry, and seeks to recreate the Urdu and Persian poetic universe in her own work in English. Her poetry and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in the Santa Ana River Review, Lime Hawk, Washington Square Review, and PBS Frontline. Adeeba lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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