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What Could Have Happened on a Spring Afternoon?
By Sofiul Azam
I should have kissed you on a spring afternoon
when there was a gust of wind ruffling your unbound hair.
Your eyes didn’t have the stony stare, and the sunlight fell on you
—streaking through smudged, south-facing windowpanes--
to add up to the beauty of your unpainted face.
I was looking at you and anxiously thinking of you.
Were you thinking of what I was thinking about?
You teasingly squeezed orange peels into my eyes.
I suspect your chest was heaving too much like waves
with the anticipation of what would follow next. Many things
could have happened: I could have you roped off by love--
the most tightening, though a little frightening,
of all ropes in the world. I could have held you
the way the destitute do their bundles of last things before guns.
I could have entered you the way ancient men entered caves
to save themselves from the outside world’s insecurity
for I never wanted an eavesdropper’s booze or bolster
on a lonely bed. I didn’t have a good-for-nothing’s supinity
or a namedropper’s vanity. Yet only I could have
made you a river by jumping into you. But I shrugged off
each of the options carefully like an intelligent fool,
thinking I was stepping dangerously beyond borders,
awaiting snipers’ bullets out of nowhere. I remember your eyes
about to come alive with the tide of your tears
and your lips quivering to word a timid sentence with love.
Maybe time was against us, and finally it has wedged
a gulf widening ever more in between us and set us
two separate islands far apart on our different courses.
And now there’s nothing else for me to get past being terrified
except one thing at last—a poem punctuated by regrets.