Cynthia Lee (Greensboro, NC)


beloved, our love was not enough
you were my mirror
when you moved i moved
me an imperfect copy
you opening inside of me
but as much as i tried, i was not enough


i was drawn to you as a parched traveler to water
i was drawn to you as moth to flame
but i was a foreigner in your world
beloved, i was not bengali enough


one day you said,
“you have become very soft,
like a bengali woman.”
like you.
but i could not be you
my body would erupt with otherness
my stride too large my eyes too small
the questions simmering unasked
and as much as i loved kathak
its hair-prickling rhythms and mathematical precision
kathak was not enough


you did not know how to love me and give me my freedom
your third world greed broke my first world heart
you did not know I might exceed your imagination
and perhaps, beloved teacher, you were not enough


i imagine us in a room together
just you and i in a room alone
an open channel between two hearts
two women dancing and reciting bols
like and unlike each other
but there is never just a room
there is always the world outside
and in the end, beloved,
our love was not enough


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