Repartee / Naima Rashid

What stung the most

was not the betrayal.

It was the neatness of design,

the cold angles of the plan

carried out at my expense.

The time I found out

seconds before leaving the house,

they were chuckling in the kitchen.

‘Better start tending to the house,

the lady of the house is about to leave’,

he pecked her on the cheek.

‘Eat that’

After she left, he took to gardening

to drown his sorrow,

insisted on watering the patch

where I had planted a new mint.

He beamed at the first sprigs,

using them at any excuse –

garnish for his omelet,

zing for his tea,

bedside bouquet to help him sleep.

The dust has settled on her,

the past buried.

Your fling is history, turned to fossil,

you still bask in her perfume every day,

take your pick of warped cliché,

your choice of smart-ass quip,

since we are in a joust

of poetic justice.

The mint you tend to daily

has the dust of her bones

in the mix.

Naima Rashid is a writer and translator. Her first book, Defiance of the Rose (Oxford University Press, 2019) was a translation of selected verses by Pakistani poet Perveen Shakir from Urdu into English. Her writings have appeared in Asymptote, The Scores, Poetry at Sangam, Wild Court, and other places. She was long-listed for the National Poetry Competition 2019. She is a collaborator with the translation collective, Shadow Heroes.

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