“The Import”

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Right away, Raj could tell Rupa apart from the other passengers. Even though he’d encouraged his mother to send her in American travel gear, she’d arrived in a homespun sari that looked like a hand-me-down, beleaguered and wrinkled as it was from the long journey. She clasped her hands together in greeting and tried to touch his feet, which alarmed Bethany.

“Oh, no, that’s all right,” said his wife. Like Rupa, she wore a nose ring, a little gem that once upon a time had set her apart.

Rupa blinked in response. The question of how well she understood English was a hotly debated topic. Raj’s mother had claimed that she had enough education to be a barista, though any claim made by Raj’s mother was inevitably questioned by Bethany, who still believed that Rupa knew little English and even less of the ways of the world. He had tried his best to stay out of the fray. They’d made a decision, and for the next six months they’d have to abide.

Raj located Rupa’s luggage; when Bethany was out of earshot, he spoke to her in Bengali. “It’s all right,” he said. “Don’t mind Bethany-didi.”

When she smiled at him, he could see a winsome gap between her two front teeth, slight enough to at once be memorable and charming. They’d left Shay at home with his temporary babysitter, also a college-age girl, but one who spent more time on her phone than watching Shay’s antics, which, as he’d turned three, had grown increasingly complicated, the turns of his imagination both rousing and enervating. Shay ran to the door as soon as he saw them, though when Rupa entered, dragging her one large duffel bag, he retreated behind the cover of Raj’s legs.

“Who’s that one?” shrieked Shay.

“This is your new babysitter,” Bethany said. “Her name is Rupa, and Rupa is going to be staying with us.”

“Oh. Why is she wearing that?” asked Shay.

“Ask her yourself,” Raj said.

“No, I won’t,” said Shay, but he came out from Raj’s legs and tugged at Rupa’s sari.

She held the fabric tight against her body. “Hello, friend,” she said in staccato English.

“You’re not my friend,” Shay said.

“That’s not how we treat our guests,” Bethany said.

Raj thought he heard a pleased note in her voice. When he’d first revealed the plan, she’d laughed, thinking it a joke, then, on realizing how committed he was to the notion, had argued at every turn. One of her fears, he believed, though she’d never said it outright, was that of being usurped, but here was their little boy showing his loyalties.

That night, he put Shay down as Rupa looked on. He demonstrated how much milk to pour, which books to read for bedtime, what songs to sing. At Bethany’s insistence, they’d installed a nanny cam in Shay’s room, so they watched from their bedroom as Rupa lay next to his crib, stroked his forehead. Once or twice, Shay called for his parents, but the day had been long, and he had little fight left. Rupa sang her own song when Shay cried. Raj recognized the tune, thinking at first that it was one of those film numbers, until he heard the song for what it was—a harbinger of rain, of harvest.

“Let’s go on a date,” he said.

“You’re crazy,” Bethany whispered, though Rupa was out of earshot. “We barely know her.”

“We’ve got the baby monitor,” he said. “Don’t worry so much.” He was forever lampooning her child-rearing anxieties, though, truth be told, Bethany had loosened up. Anyway, it made sense, given all the trips to the fertility clinic, resulting in two miscarriages in quick succession. When Shay finally came, those early months, each crawl, step, and then dash had felt like a disaster in waiting. There was only so much babyproofing one could do. Shay had survived, seemingly no worse for a few falls.

“Okay, but I’m keeping the monitor open the whole time,” Bethany said.

They ended up having two cocktails apiece at their favorite local bar, which was just two doors down and close enough, perhaps, to even hear Shay crying if it came to that.

“He asked me where the moon comes from,” Raj told Bethany. He knew dates were meant to exclude talk of Shay, but he couldn’t help but reminisce about all that his son was saying.

She smiled as if confronted with a fading beauty, which meant that she wasn’t listening to him. Maybe she was thinking about work or the roses he’d once ordered her from Kyoto. Time was passing her by. She was on business trips a quarter of the year, which meant she missed Shay more than he did. Time was passing him by, though he couldn’t account for the reason. He chugged his cocktail and asked, “Now do you think it’s a good plan?”

“Darling,” she said, coming back to him, “your mother is always right.”

It was, in fact, his mother’s plan. Rupa was part of an entourage of servants that hung around their old colonial home in Kolkata. He didn’t know her from Adam but trusted his mother’s judgment. She’d suggested that live-in help would restore domestic bliss and offered up Rupa, for whom the six-month salary was equal to several years’ wages. Not only that, but she’d offered to arrange for Rupa’s visa, her flight costs, and even her salary. Inch by inch, Bethany had caved in.

“We can actually go out again. We can go out on the town and be who we were,” he said.

“Trust me. We can’t be who we were, this village girl or no.”

“Just you wait,” he said. “Just you wait and see.”

He had visions of reliving his early New York life, only this time with Bethany in tow. They’d met eleven years ago speed dating at a speakeasy. He won her favor by holding her gaze. Now they were parents, living through the weather. Ever since Shay had been born, they’d tried to leave the city, but something held them there. Some vital force prevented egress, and even though they’d had their fill of dazzle and moonshot, even though their bank accounts said nothing for their time toiling away, they remained as they were.

“What does the Import eat?” Bethany asked. Two cocktails in, she’d found a nickname for Rupa that tickled them both.

“Mac and cheese?” he asked. “Cocoa Puffs with chocolate milk?”

That first week, he stayed home to help Rupa acclimate. Their house in India knew little of modernity’s offerings, so Rupa marveled at the many settings of the dishwasher and the washing machine. Mostly, she admired the wide variety of snacks that were available to Shay at any time. Looking through her eyes, he could see how it might feel overwhelming for his little boy, as he was posed with choices at every hour—organic strawberries or cheese sticks or veggie straws or Goldfish. Perhaps it was like that for Rupa now.

“Goldfish is not really fish. It’s more like a cracker,” he explained.

“GOLDFISH IS NOT FISH,” said Shay, who was already lording over his new babysitter. He was off preschool for the summer, which had expedited the need for childcare.

That first morning, they went to Prospect Park. Rupa bonded with Shay as he ran around a playground with a statue of a dragon, whose mouth spewed water instead of fire. Up the stairs she walked, and down the slide she came. He could tell that Shay loved the singularity of the attention. She was speaking Bengali to him, which had always struck Raj as a child’s language, full of soft, cooing sounds, and Shay seemed to be following along fine enough. That was the other reason for Rupa. Raj’s mother had wanted her grandson to learn her language. Raj hardly spoke to Shay in Bengali, so it was Rupa’s task to bring the language to his son.

After the park and lunch, he put Shay down for his nap.

“There’s some business I have to attend to,” he told Rupa when Shay was asleep.

“Of course,” she said. “I’m here now.”

It was a thrill to leave his boy with Rupa. He wasn’t sure if he could, but now he had. That she wouldn’t tell Bethany was the sweetest part.

He walked to the other side of the park, where rents were a little more affordable and the greenery less plentiful. It had been here that, during one of his early-morning runs as a new father, he’d met Molly Choi. She was running as he was, and they matched each other’s pace on the straightaway and struck up a conversation. Even though they were measuring a good clip, he could smell a cloud of lavender every time he leaned close to hear something she’d said. She was neither as pretty nor as worldly as Bethany, he came to discover, but she was better in bed. Though he wore a wedding ring, she never asked about his story. Back when he was enjoying press junkets and finding himself in the occasional one-night stand, there was no expectation of further intimacy, and the same was true of his encounters with Molly. Their get-togethers confirmed his feeling that he was simply acting out his nature. He had only recently begun to think this way, believing that there was little choice for him to do anything else but to respond to Molly’s text that read U Free?—for it was in his constitution.

This afternoon, even though he’d explained to Molly in advance that he’d be free all week during the day hours, even though he knew that she herself had arranged to “work from home,” he desisted. Ten feet from the musty hallway of her prewar building, he texted her back, Kid won’t go dwn. Sorry! The kid he’d told her about, just not the wife. He jogged back across the length of Prospect Park, nearly trampled at one point by a spandex-clad cyclist. He realized he’d left his child—his precious, voluble creature—in the hands of a person he barely knew. His jog turned into a sprint.

When he got home, Shay was up from his nap and roaming in the kitchen. He was trying to explain that he only wanted to eat animal crackers. Rupa was cutting the fig-size grapes Bethany had bought into little pieces.

“He just got up,” she said, continuing to slice even as she held his gaze, a display of culinary competence he found endearing. “He only wants to eat sweet things.”

“We have to be careful about that,” he said breathlessly. There was no fire to put out. He was relieved, though no fire to put out was also a little disappointing.

“Once he finishes his snack, would it be possible for me to make a call?” she asked.

“To India?”

“What’s India?” Shay interrupted. He seemed to enjoy the challenge of having to learn their new language.

“It’s the far, far-away place where Rupa and I came from,” he said in English.

“Where did Mommy come from?”

“The far, far-away place called Missouri. They speak strangely there and barely know how to spell.”

“It’s just that it’s getting late,” Rupa said. “Over there, I mean. You could just call your mother on video. She’ll have everyone come over.”

“Hold on, skipper,” he told his little boy. “We’re establishing cross-Atlantic communications.”

His mother answered the video chat, her face so overly close to the camera that he was level with the blackheads on her nose. “Beta, it’s almost midnight. What is the matter?”

“I didn’t realize it was so late,” he said. Most of the times they connected it was she who called at times that suited her.

“Ma,” Rupa said, squeezing beside him so he could feel the press of her hip on his. “Can I speak with her?”

“Who?” Raj asked.

“Hold on,” his mother said, grumbling as she pointed the camera away and began to dress.

“Is that Grandma?” Shay asked, trying to burrow between their bodies.

“Oh,” Raj’s mother said, returning moments later. “It seems they’ve been waiting by my door.”

“Who?” Raj asked again.

His mother panned the camera to show all the faces that had entered her room. He hadn’t been home in over a decade and didn’t recognize a soul. There was a gang of them, squinting into the screen.

“I don’t see Lakshmi,” Rupa said.

A little girl’s face emerged into the camera. She was wearing a lacy dress that could’ve been used for a christening, entirely too hot for the weather. “Hi, Ma,” she said.

“Who’s that?” Shay and Raj said almost as one.

“That’s my daughter,” Rupa said. “She’s turning five next week. Can I have a minute to talk with her? I want to introduce her to little Shay.”

“Your what?”

“My child. Did Ma not explain?”

“Of course! Ma, I’m going to call you on your cell.” He locked himself in his bedroom and considered what he’d say to his mother. This was her idea, though he’d been the one to sell it to Bethany. Apparently, she’d left out a little detail. He had assumed that Rupa was unattached, not a mother herself. They’d contracted someone to watch their child while her own remained a world away.

“Completely unacceptable,” he said when he’d gotten hold of his mother on his cell phone. “Why didn’t you tell me she had a little girl? I thought she was, like, twenty-two or something.”

“She is twenty-two,” his mother said. “It just so happens that she started early. Pretty common for village people, actually.”

“But you didn’t tell me!” he said.

“You didn’t ask,” his mother replied. “Anyway, what does it matter? She has a history. All people do. That is why she is doing the job. With the money she gets, she’ll start sending Lakshmi to private school. Six months is not a long time, you know. There’s hardly a change in that time.”

Perhaps that was true of him. Once he’d landed his job at the Times, he’d steadily put in enough hours to be neither fired nor promoted. Do enough was his mantra. It had been like that for most of his life until Shay was born, and he’d decided to go part-time to become the primary caregiver, a duty he’d come to regret. In his life, little seemed to change in six months, but for Shay, the same period of time had meant the difference between incoherent babbling and semicoherent speech. Lakshmi was a little older, but still. “There’s something not right about it. I’m dreading telling Bethany,” Raj said.

“Why would you tell Bethany?” his mother asked as if he were the dunce in the room.

“We don’t keep things from each other,” he said, thinking of Molly Choi’s violet bedsheets.

“Then you are stupider than you look,” his mother said. “Anyway, what will you do? Send her back? If you want, I can arrange her ticket to return home next week.”

“Oh,” he said, feeling a shiver run through his heart. Besides Molly Choi, he’d planned a host of activities that were to be timed with Rupa’s visit. The potential loss of those afternoons at the bar, or at the beach, or winding his way through the couples’ intimacy workshops he’d signed himself and Bethany up for, was too much to bear. “It’s just that I need to wrap my head around this. Anyway, it’s late over there. Goodbye, Ma.”

When Bethany came home that night, she flashed a smile that signaled just how bone-tired she was. They’d entered the news world at the same time, but she’d desperately wanted to climb the ranks. So she had. From running features to becoming managing editor of a travel journal and then editor-at-large of a magazine that did travel entrepreneurship, a term he still barely understood. Whatever it meant, she still paid the bulk of the rent.

They’d prepared dinner in her honor. When motivated, Raj knew how to make a meal delight all the senses, and tonight he was. Motivated, that is. They’d all three made a trip to the market, where Rupa had marveled at the ubiquity of every fruit and vegetable, wrapped her sari around her shoulders as they passed through the frozen aisle. She made a few suggestions along the way, picking up bitter gourd, which he’d tempura-battered as an appetizer.

“What’s that saying? The fastest way to a girl’s heart is through her stomach?” Bethany said, relishing the gazpacho he’d made with heirloom tomatoes and fresh lavender.

“We had such a nice day,” he said. “Didn’t we, little man?”

Shay vehemently shook his head no.

“We went to the park, we got groceries, we acquainted Rupa with the neighborhood.”

“Yes,” Rupa added. “Yes, very good.”

“Oh, I’m so glad things are working out!” Bethany said.

That night, Rupa again put Shay to bed, and this time, his boy put up less of a fight. Raj thought of telling his wife that he’d learned something of Rupa’s history, but the dinner had gone so well that he let the moment pass.

He lay with Bethany in the dark of their bedroom, cluttered from the detritus of their travels, the trinkets all around him—the stars from Mexico with little inner lights, which they’d hung in the ceiling. Occasionally, they lit those lights and had sex, though this had been abated by Shay’s coming, or simply by the exhaustion of their bodies, the familiar smells and snores. This night, he tried again by stroking Bethany’s thigh. She murmured something.

“What is it, darling?” he asked. But it passed like a signal from a faraway planet.

The summer burned on. Bethany took a trip to Iceland, where her ancestors came from, for the sake of covering a music festival, and reported that even the far north was suffering from a heat wave. When she returned, she seemed more relaxed, rejuvenated, even. In her absence, Rupa had continued to learn the neighborhood. A month into her tenure, she’d even improved her English. She’d made friends with the bodega owner down the block, who regally opened the door just for her and Shay.

Raj and Bethany had reached the age when most of their friends had either tied the knot or committed to the single life the city offered. There were, however, still a few in-betweens—divorced men and women who threw potlucks to celebrate the second coming, or partnerships that were made for the sake of the children promised. It was for one of these that they’d been invited to Maine.

When he suggested that they try to leave Rupa alone with Shay for the weekend, Bethany threw her shoe at him.

“She hardly speaks English!” Bethany yelled. “What if something happens? How will she communicate?”

“She’ll call me on the cell, and I’ll translate,” he said. “Besides, she’s been picking up a few words.” Give me two mangoes for price one, he’d heard her say to the bodega owner, who had mysteriously complied. He’d enjoyed the role of translator, his language the primary link to the person who was safekeeping their child. This frustrated Bethany; he knew that. She spoke three languages but not the one she’d need to understand what her son was now beginning to learn.

So Rupa came along, as did Shay. Raj’s mood soured from the moment he picked up the minivan, which was the only rental left that could fit all of them. Driving it through the Palisades and onto I-95, he felt ancient. He’d turned forty the year before, but the gray had started to accumulate in his beard seasons earlier. Every time Shay cried or had a tantrum in the car, he felt another little strand of himself wither into old age.

Helen, the bride-to-be, had attended Bethany’s alma mater, and in bygone summers, Bethany had spent weeks at their house on the lake. Now they’d rented a cabin next to the wedding plot. It was also on the lake but allowed for more privacy. There’d been an option for them to stay with other families at the wedding, but Bethany had declined. He suspected it was because she was embarrassed about Rupa, who still rotated through the same three saris she’d brought from India, fastidiously washing each day’s garments in the bathtub.

They arrived on a Friday afternoon. With the wedding not until Sunday, they had a whole day to laze around the lake. The water felt too cold to him and to Rupa also, who for once declined to follow Shay as he ran from the beach into the clear water, instead letting Bethany run alongside her son. His wife was at home here. Even in Iceland, she said, she’d bathed in the fjords, and their son had inherited his mother’s gift for cold waters.

“Have you ever been to the sea in India?” he asked Rupa.

“I was in North Calcutta. I was in my village, and now I’m here. Nowhere in between.”

“Oh,” he said. He was going to tell her a story about the time his parents had taken him to a seaside resort as a child, which no longer felt apropos. “Well, do you like it here?”

“The lake is beautiful, yes.”

“No, I mean America,” he said. “Do you like being with our family?”

She looked at him for a long moment. Even in the hour they’d been outside, her skin had bronzed in the sun. “Your little boy has a good heart,” she said. “But I miss my Lakshmi.”

Since that first call with his mother, he’d almost forgotten about the existence of her own child. She hadn’t asked to see her daughter again, and he hadn’t offered. It had seemed for the best. Once the time to tell Bethany the truth had passed, a gentle forgetting was all anyone could hope for. Even when his mother had called to check up on Shay and Rupa, they’d never again discussed Lakshmi. He wondered now who was taking care of her—a grandmother, an aunt, the uncle who chauffeured his mother around?

“We can call her again when we get back to Brooklyn,” he said. He would have offered they try this weekend in Maine, but his cell phone didn’t work and neither did the Wi-Fi, Helen’s family having chosen to forgo installing a satellite dish or doing anything that would interrupt their connection to the bucolic setting.

When Shay took his nap, Raj and Bethany visited Helen and Rob, her husband-to-be, in their house. Rob fixed margaritas for everyone, and Helen shared their honeymoon plans for Tahiti.

“A bungalow on the beach is exactly what I need after all this. It’s on stilts, so it sways whenever there’s a wave, which means you sleep more deeply.”

Rob licked the salt off his margarita glass. He was into watches that told him things about his body. At the moment, he was testing and wearing three separate ones, one of which caught the light from the lake and glowed like an orb. “So, who’s the refugee?” he asked.

“Hey, that’s not nice,” said Helen. “Unless, of course, she is a refugee, which is perfectly fine, of course. There are countries where horrible things happen, and we shouldn’t close our doors to everyone.”

“She’s not a refugee. She’s here on a legal visa,” Raj said.

“More to the point,” Bethany said. “She’s here to take care of Shay. Plus, she’s being paid for by Raj’s mother, so cheers to that.”

They all clinked glasses, including Raj, who pretended he was enjoying the joke as much as anyone. Slowly, he zoned himself out of the conversation, smiling at the right times so no one would notice. There was an extraordinary amount of pink Himalayan salt on the lip of his glass, and he took his time to surreptitiously lick it off.

It was nearly evening when they thought to return to their cabin. Bethany was the one who’d realized, even though she’d had one more margarita than he, that the afternoon had flown by. “He’s up from his nap, I’m sure—our little man,” Bethany said. The tequila failed to mask the anxiety in her voice.

“Don’t worry. The Import’s there, and she’s more responsible than both you and me,” he said, which he’d meant to elicit a chuckle, but no one joined in.

They walked back to their cabin as the sun began to set on the lake. Even the old house next to theirs, where no one lived, which was being subsumed by the land, seemed as if it were made of impressions and follies, the nails on the clawed wood of the docks shining like white teeth.

The door to their cabin was open—no one bothered to lock doors here—but the house was quiet.

“Shay, baby?” Bethany called. She couldn’t help but sound chirpy whenever she was worried, but Raj knew the difference.

“Maybe they’re playing hide-and-seek?” he offered.

They searched through all the rooms. Shay’s stuffed octopus was in his crib. His diaper bag with its travel toys was missing, as was Rupa’s peacoat, which was too warm for the weather but which she’d brought anyway.

“Obviously, they went for a walk,” Raj said. Even he had begun to feel it in his belly, the beginning of trouble. He’d always had a knack, as a reporter on the beat, for knowing, for instance, when to leave a protest before it became unruly. He thought of himself as a survivor, someone who made it through life’s turbulences through the grace of this sixth sense.

Once again, Bethany restarted her cell phone, but there was still no service. “One of these houses must have a landline. We could call the police, get them to help us,” she said.

“That’s a little premature, isn’t it?” Raj said. He led them into the twilight, unsure of how to begin their search.

“We’ll split up,” Bethany said, taking charge. “I’ll go get Helen. You look in the other direction.”

The other direction meant the road that led off the island. “Road” was an exaggeration, though. It was a graveled stretch of land; there weren’t even barriers to keep cars from falling into the water. As it darkened, he used his cell phone as a flashlight. The lock screen photo was one of Shay at seven months, an epoch before, when they’d barely been sleeping through the night, and when he’d questioned his life choices, as he was doing now, walking alone on that path where few of the cabins were lit.

He kept telling himself that Rupa was a village girl, which meant she knew something more about the darkness than he did. Probably, she was not even afraid, wherever she was.

Nearing the end of the island, he saw a canoe in the middle of the lake. He couldn’t tell if it was Rupa and his little boy until he shined his light toward them and heard a response.

“Oar in the water,” Rupa called.

“Okay, you stay where you are!” he yelled back, as if they had a choice. He ran back toward the cabin and found Helen, Bethany, and Rob carrying life vests and a giant flashlight.

“I found them,” he said triumphantly. “They went out on a boat and lost their oars, so they’re just floating there. They’re perfectly safe.”

“You saw Shay? He’s all right?”

“I heard Rupa. She said everything was fine,” he said. In fact, he hadn’t seen his boy or heard from him, the boat too far in the water to make out faces. Years later, sitting with his therapist, he would also begin to question whether, in fact, he’d heard Rupa. Oar in the water. He couldn’t think of the Bengali phrase for that, and Rupa wouldn’t have said it in English.

“I’ll get our boat,” Rob said.

They all squeezed into a motorized dinghy that had been beached on Helen’s dock. The oarless canoe was still there, floating perhaps a little farther away from the island.

“I’ve got some rope, so we can just tie them to us,” Helen said.

They seemed so capable in a crisis, these two. He hoped it would make for a memorable nuptial story they’d embellish with humor and retell for years to come.

For what seemed like minutes, Bethany hadn’t said a word. He held her hand, felt her quickened pulse. She would as likely choke him now as give him the time of day. A reckoning was what she was planning, though he didn’t know the details. He wanted to calm her and seem strong. She flexed her wrist and took his hand away as if it were a soiled napkin.

Nearing the boat, Rob dimmed the lights. It was still hard to see, but there was Rupa waving at them.

“You will go into that boat,” Bethany said quietly. “You will bring my boy back. I don’t care if you leave her there.”

Rob steered the boats close together. When he lurched into the canoe, Raj saw Shay asleep in cat pose. Rupa had a hand on his forehead. She didn’t seem at all surprised to see him. That’s when he noticed the oar lying in the middle of the canoe. He kneeled to examine it for any defects, but it seemed right as mud.

“What are you doing out here?” he asked.

“I didn’t want to remain inside,” she said. “He was having a fit. We needed air.”

“But it’s dark, and I called you from the shore. Didn’t you hear me?”

She gazed into the dark water. The slant of her face reminded him of a hunting knife held in shadows, a thin, sharp instrument. His knees began to shake. The stars edged closer to the lake, or so it felt, as if on this night, the cosmos was aiming to suffocate him.

Finally, she returned to him and spoke in a voice so low that only he could hear: “You worry at the wrong times and about the wrong things.”

“What is she saying?” Bethany shouted. “What did she do to my son?”

“What you should worry about is a woman who fails to love you,” said Rupa. She put the hood of her sari over her head, rocked in her seat as if muttering a prayer.

“Bring him here right now,” Bethany called.

Rupa stood to her full height. Perhaps there’d been a river in the village, for she balanced in the canoe like a natural. She bent to pass him Shay. For a moment, her callused hands met his before he brought his boy back into the dinghy. Helen attached a rope to the canoe and they set off for the shore.

Back in his mother’s arms, Shay awoke. He seemed startled by the moonlight. The night was alive with the chorus of bullfrogs and crickets and the hum of a myriad of other insects. For a long moment, he remained quiet. “Why are there so many frogs?” he finally said.

The love for his little boy roared out of Raj. “There are a million frogs here,” he said in his first language, which had become for them like a secret tongue, but Bethany was holding Shay to her breast, cooing into his ear as if he were a baby newly emerged from the womb. Behind them, he could see Rupa clearly: a cheap nose ring, a dark face in the pale light. They were pulling her toward the shore as if she were their prisoner, but it was not like that at all. She had come of her own intent. It was that you could know a person only so well. Then their own ideas would muddy the water. Then you’d have to return them to where they belonged.


“The Import” first appeared in Ploughshares. Copyright © 2023 by Jai Chakrabarti. Reprinted by permission of the author.

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