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Adeeba Shahid Talukder, 2017 Poets House Emerging Poets Fellow

When in the dark/ my mind brightened

I realized I could no longer
wait to be beautiful. Thus, I pushed
bangles upon bangles
onto my wrist, rubbing
my hands raw with metal
and glass.

Each time a bangle broke, I watched
the blood collecting at my veins
with a grim face,
feeling more like a woman.

No symmetry or sequence.
All colors clanged upon my arms,
bright, jeweled, and dissonant.

That night, the window air was open,
the full moon luminous. I waited
for my mother to turn, to see me
as a bride.
I wanted to tell her:

The world is adorning itself
for my wedding.

That night, my mother looked
into my eyes with terror. That night,
she wouldn’t let me leave.

Adeeba Talukder is a Pakistani-American poet and translator. She translates Urdu and Persian poetry, and cannot help but bring elements from these worlds to her own work in English. A Best of the Net nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Glass Poetry Press, Solstice Literary Magazine, Washington Square Review, PBS Frontline, and the Huffington Post among other publications. Adeeba received her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan, and is currently working on translating two books of poetry. When she isn’t writing, she spends a disproportionate amount of her time singing.


See full list of 2017 Emerging Poets Fellows