We! - Poem by Taslima Nasrin
Last night a lizard sprang up from nowhere and landed upon me. It squirmed along my arm and then climbed upon my shoulder before inching toward my head and hiding itself into the disheveled bush of my hair. Resting upon the back of my aching head, it kept gawking for a couple of hours at a second lizard. Then at the stroke of dawn, it slid next to my ear, deciding to squat upon my spine.
The second lizard lay frozen upon my right leg, around two inches below my knee. Neither budged from their positions the entire evening. Having failed to remove them, I did what I normally do. I kept lying with my eyes firmly closed. Silently—and even if there's really no rationale whatsoever for counting in reverse— I counted from one hundred to one, repeatedly.
My bed is a confused mess of dirty clothes, used trays and cracked bowls with leftover meals; notebooks for scribbling, old newspapers that have turned brown because of tea stains; one or two combs with pieces of hair sticking to them; one or two stray puffed rice crackers that have lost their crispness; scattered strips of pills and phials of potions; inkless pens etc., etc., etc.
For a number of days, more than two hundred black ants have occupied my bed. They have girded up their loins to construct their new colony upon my bed. Millimeter by millimeter, they have begun to take full control over me. They're very tiny creatures. Shriveled in fear, for days on end, I myself have become as tiny as these ants.
I'm utterly stunned at their demeanour. They've been performing ballet programmes in classical styles upon the surface of my body— but not once have I been bitten, even by mistake. I believe they've taken it for granted that I belong to them. And I've also begun to consider that I, perhaps, just perhaps, am actually safer in their company than that of humans…
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