Bone China

mother left
the quiet house, writhes
slowly in her bed
asking to be loved well
end of monsoon

sunbirds twich outside, hibiscus
and bougainvillea spread indisciplined
even the wasps fly faster, staying
for longer
in the window sils

i broke a saucer yesterday, mom
bone china splintered over the floor
just recently mopped by you, as I stood up
regathered
a to-do list lost its adhesive
and flew outside, forever unread

Leaving Behind

the table creaks, a dove
takes sudden flight
leaves behind a twirling feather

it thuds the floor mutely

the town rises home by home
street by street, step by step
shadowless faces smile and yawn
a sun softened by a quilt of clouds

grey and thick like my grandmother’s hair

she does not live here anymore
only her cats do, a few spice bottles
transperent and organised
they tell us about her past and future
the kitchen window lights up like a film screen
outside, a row of doves
take flight and disappear
leaving behind a fluttering echo

Shop, Centre Street

the passer-by notices the crumbling shop
a notice on the pillar inside; helper
wanted
urgently

the print faded, the helper too

a hunchback appears from the pantry, saucer
carrying a bruised cup
chipped off bone china
holding tea from 1942

somehow, still warm, the shirt wrinkled

clogged in the shelves
receipts and papers yellow
a photograph of a dead customer
a certificate of ownership

strewn around are muttered words, softened

an evening parks outside, starts
begging for a place to rest the night
like everyday, shooed away
made to join the other beggars
at edge of the square, counting coins
the shutter
tiredly
descends

elsewhere the city erupts with life

Stuffed Brinjals

You would grow them yourself 
The groudnuts too, the farm
with the amber hills in the backdrop
Silenced by the rustle of neem trees
The black soil that moulded through toes
After the last drop of monsoon
You were never old, even
at 70 you ran faster than me
Hearing the lambs alarm

By noon you crushed the roasted peanuts
Filling the house with the promise of lunch
The iron pan crackling with white butter
While the perfect mix of chilli and garlic
Married the softeness of brinjal

Later in the day I’d venture into the open
Watching the sky dotted with kites and vultures
They never come around these days
And at the funeral when you lied still by the river
I heard the terns caw plaintively overshadowing the echo of wails
Even the sarpanch was sad, so was
that farmer couple who smiled at us
when we joined them once, uprooting
Treasures from the earth
Never to be found
in the cities I have touched

5.1.17