In the Martyred Intellectuals Cemetery, Dhaka

i.m. Abdul Gaffar Choudhury

Above us, sparrows are acrobats 
in dripping banana trees. A downpour hisses 
out of the white, suffocated sky. 

People lined the streets when your body 
passed in its refrigerated van. 
Your image still hangs at the gates. 

Water is falling, falling blindly, pooling 
along your grave. A stray dog drinks its fill. 
Thunder stamps the air in gun salute.

Clay here is blood red.
We stand by the uprooted marble 
of your plot, waiting for the spoil to settle. 

Not for you, these street boys 
anointing themselves with laughter and wetness, 
nor the rapture of young women 

skipping puddles in drenched saris of fire and mango. 
The earth is taking a cast of who you were.
Already, moisture has begun to evaporate. 

Note: A.G. Choudhury wrote the liberation song of the Bengali Language Movement, which ultimately led to Bangladesh’s independence from Pakistan