Poem

I translate, from the Urdu, Mother’s dream for Harry the shrink

Naked,
except for my nikab,

roped to a round pillar
on a sand dune

the sun’s anvil,
my feet dancing.

The turbaned Bedouin,
henna-dyed beard,

Champion Lovemaker
peace be upon Him

raked His fingers at me.
Quicksand rose to my thighs.

My heart sank.
I awoke.

Harry the shrink turns towards me,
and says, “Repressed sexual fantasy,

need for intimacy.
Nakedness: vulnerability;

nikab veiling her face
below the eyes: anonymity.

Bondage suggests either
a desire to be submissive, or

a yearning to be free.
Sinking into quicksand:

reversion into the subconscious.
Guilt about her desires

drives her to religion—
the Champion Lovemaker—

to rekindle her self esteem,
and make her feel better.”

“What is he saying to you?” Mother
asks. It’s my dream, after all.”

I resort to diplomacy. “Mother,
doctor sahib says I should help you

write down or tape record your dreams.
They are windows to your soul.”

By Rafiq Kathwari, whose debut collection, ‘In Another Country,’ is forthcoming in September from Doire Press.

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