The Room In Which I Am Forced . . . by Taslima Nasrin

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The room in which I now live has a closed window,
A window that I cannot open at will.
The window’s covered with a heavy curtain that I cannot move at will.
I live in a room now,
Where I cannot open the door at will, cannot cross the threshold.
I live in a room, where the only other living inhabitants are
Two sickly lizards on the wall. No man or any creature resembling a man is allowed here.
I live in a room where I find it a great strain to breathe.
There’s no sound around, but for banging your head against the wall.
Nobody else in the world watches, expect the couple of lizards.
They watch with eyes wide open, who knows if they feel the pain—Maybe they feel it.
Do they too cry, when I cry?
I live in a room where I don’t want to live,
A room where I am forced to live,
A room where democracy forces me to live for days unending,
In a room in the dark, in incertitude, with a threat hanging,
In pain, breathing with difficulty, democracy forces me to live,
In a room where secularism drains me away of life, dropp by drop.
In a room my dear India forces me . . .
I do not know if all those over busy men or creatures that look like men will have a couple of seconds to spare to turn to
The lifeless lump that comes out of the room some day,
A rotten, greasy lump, a lump of bones.
Will death be release? It’s death perhaps that sets one free,
Free at last to cross the threshold.
The lizards will stare away the whole day,
Maybe they too will feel sad.
Someone will bury me, maybe a government man,
Wrapped in the flag of democracy, in the soil of my dear India .
I’ll find a home there at last, with no threshold to cross,
I’ll find a home there where breathing will be easy.

[This poem was written while Taslima was forced to live in confinement in an undisclosed location in Delhi from 22 November 2007 to 19 March 2008. Samik Bandapadahya translated this poem from her book PRISONERS POEMS]

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