A Meeting

We chose our old patisserie, Faheem's,
One Monday noontime. Half the chairs were stacked.
The waiter Abdul's smile displayed the fact
He knew our likes: fudge brownies with whipped cream.

Her clothes were simple, just a plain Salwar
Kameez—not what she mostly wore to meet me.
No dimples sat upon her cheeks to greet me;
Her body there, her mind was somewhere far

Away. "Must be a slight familial thing,"
I thought and asked, "A crossfire with your mother?
Another hijink by your puckish brother?"
It seemed no act or word of mine could bring

The truth out of her throat. After a pause,
She spoke (as if an old, corroded door,
Reluctant to be slid): "Just six months more.
My baba says it's for my own good cause.

The boy's an engineer from our own caste
With good emoluments." She turned away
From me to hide her face, now moist and gray.
This news, like summer's heat, wizened the last

Bright bloom of optimism in my heart.
"When is the day?" I wished to ask but could
Not voice a word — perhaps, for my own good;
Perhaps, to keep my soul a bit apart,

Veiled from the knowledge of her wedding date.
We sat, hands clasped, and watched the hour grow,
The people leave, the lightbulbs' dimmish glow.
The food remained untouched on both our plates.

Shamik Banerjee

If you have any thoughts about this poem, Shamik Banerjee  would be pleased to hear them