Collage by Annli Nakayama

Parting

Barishal, Bangladesh, during the Partition of India, 1947

It is monsoon when they part, 

when the water lilies sprout like tiles,

painting mosaics of rose and jade beneath 

my grandmother’s feet. She sings prayers, words 

erupting like gasps under her breath. 

Stretching her veil up and over, scouring the market,

venerating the rain—sheets of glass, particles 

reflecting the sweet limes heaped 

on each other in pyramids—she recalls

the emerald beads her sister gave her 

before her parting, searches her neck for their indent.

She bows to choose a lime as a child

wrenches a lily from the water. Droplets explode, 

drench my grandmother’s veil, clasped 

to her face, and she drowns in a cry—remembering

it was monsoon when her sister parted, 

wrested from fragile arms—and then a wail.

Up at her the child stares, turns to leave, face streaked

with glassy rain—my grandmother recalls

her sister’s voice, in fragments, remnants

of mosaics—and under her breath she whispers 

Come back, come back. But

the lilies float on, apart. 

—Avik Sarkar is a sophomore in Davenport College

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