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The Process

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So grateful the process is clean
and faithful. Does not cheat
like a disenchanted spouse
dozing on a haggard couch.

Take heart: the process is always right — 
is automatic, phlegmatic. Clean, cold,
and always refreshing. Brewed to perfection
some say. Guaranteed to satisfy

you might say. Give thanks the process
is organized. Synchronized and sterilized.
Optimized but not disguised, like
the grown man at my door long after

trick-or-treaters have gone, hand
outstretched, mask covering his eyes.
Thankful, too, for the oversight: no
boogeyman standing over the drain pipe,

clogging it with debris when no one sees
so he can charge you your life
for the cleaning; name your price.
And how shall we praise the instruments

of investigation? So shiny, so new, gleaming
with silver and glass? No traces of fingerprints
or funders. No whispered voices
softly requesting, of the results, a first glance.

There’s no need to come clean. We know
the process won’t fall prey to steak and wine
and then slink upstairs to spend some time,
just a little. The process doesn’t. The process

wouldn’t. The process isn’t that kind.

Source: Poetry (March 2017)

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Poetry magazine

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The Process

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  • Image of Dilruba Ahmed.

    Dilruba Ahmed is the author of Dhaka Dust (Graywolf, 2011), winner of the Bakeless Literary Prize for poetry awarded by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her poetry has appeared in Blackbird, Cream City Review, New England Review, New Orleans Review, and Indivisible: Contemporary South Asian American Poetry

    Of her first book, a Hyphen Magazine reviewer observed, “What’s so promising about Dhaka Dust is precisely that Ahmed never evades our contemporary moment, taking on a globalizing, anxiety-stricken world while always focusing on the contradictory ways that her speakers live through them. Over the course of these poems, Ahmed subtly crafts the emotionally complex terrain that captures the sprawl and dislocation that shape our early 21st century psychology.”

    A writer with roots in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Bangladesh, Ahmed earned BPhil and MAT degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She has taught in Chatham University’s Low-Residency MFA program.

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