A Poem from Bangladesh
Not Elegy, But Eros
for Xulhaz Mannan, LGBT activist murdered in Bangladesh, April 2016
I have heard the summons. The wind
tossed my hair and wrestled me down
to the earth’s amorous embrace.
I have lain down among the rushes
and offered myself to whatever it was
within me, calling. Some said don’t.
I went wherever the wind blew me.
I fathomed the fall of that abyss, held
only by the thought of one I loved—
the arch of his brow, the two-day scruff
of his jaw rasping against my cheek,
the pulsing veins of his slender limbs.
I have loved my brothers and comrades.
I have blessed the new year and painted
the town with all the colors of my love.
I have faced the flash of steel, the howl
of unholy voices. But it was their eyes,
their hard unloving eyes, that undid me.