Haiku 19

a corpse’s eyes
bloom
– firecrackers

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The Sorrowful Heart of a Nineteen Year Old Girl

Met her through an ice-cream loving friend
Amidst the fete crowd she wore a floral skirt
And rickety shoes, her eyes lacking an eyeliner
Story-less and pure
She called me an unusual scientist with weird ears
And said my nose was like a rocky hill
Even my hair wasn’t spared, her convent accent
Described it as an abandoned nest
Later that month I’d find her
Strolling across the race course
Staring at horses speed past her morose eyes

Her morose eyes

The wintry tears and snowfall of regrets
Her perfect face cancelled by her imperfect self, even
The teenagers from the suburb
Felt she was too smart
But she was just a stupid girl
With a sorrowful heart

For days I’d let her jabber, not just
The usual hormonal rants but even
Lyrics of favourite songs, oh for that matter
Plans to travel to Rome and back
We even booked our trains to China
But it kind of fell apart once the phone cut

The phone cut

Years later with m shirt tucked in
I found her in a mall, she
Dragged around a cart filled
With discounted flour and tea, it even had
Vegetables and frozen meat, she looked
the same except for her skin

Dark in places, pale in some,
Her eyes slow to blink and her hair overdone
She stood in a line with
A heap of worries and despair, the winter
in her eyes colder
At the cash counter
As they touched a travel magazine
That made promises of blue seas
And islands with beautiful men,
She thought of picking one up, but then thought,
Life’s a lie, and at 28,
it’s probably better to look elsewhere

Landscapes

your hair rivers onto the bedsheet
tracing movements made by the rest of you
your eyes move nervously in a dream
viewing their own private cinema
your fingers gently tremble under a moist breeze
I plant my warmth at your feet

adrift in you earlier I discovered forested lakes
in me your voice echoed across endless mountains
eventually water-falling over my shoulder
and turning the room into its lake
then birds flew out of us one by one taking turns
as we gazed upward with closed eyes searching for a sky

collapsing onto rippled cloth you became a range of dunes

awakened by the stillness of night
I witness you take new shapes beside me
the scent of our time passing grows gradually
buttoning myself I let my palm speak to your forehead
a soft fluorescence robes you like an ocean

Sitting at a Study Table

Both beautiful and sad, your face
Draped in a table lamp’s offering
Stares at its old versions in yellowed albums, you
Browse through former laughter trapped
In static pictures, your hair
Lush and immortal, even your eyes
Seemed larger and unexplored

Around you scribbles and poetry hangs, some
Sits and the other stands, some
Pinned against a softboard’s worn face calls
To be rewritten, you switch it all off
Over you the ceiling smeared with
The city’s long shadows, as
They move and carpet across and out, a million stars
Sparkle in the distance
You cannot see them from here, they shine
Atop your favourite mountain
That is, somewhere, ageing alone in the fog

Bucket Boy

in a single sweep history
rewritten by a spade, a whiter race
armed with gods and texts, made
demons of the browns –
percolate as mismatches, on
the outskirts the hutment absolved
mocked by pigs, dead cows
rows of faeces

parked amidst a river’s gush, vessels
stained by blood, a cloth line
blots hanging as linen – a crow
calls for a dead gecko, the woman appears
in her a child about to die
at birth, it will be named as its father
roaming with a bucket
its hands substituting
the water in latrines

Goa, Circa 2013 

Strolling in the drizzle one becomes green like the hills
Clotting besides the river, between you and them a bridge
Last catch of fish dissected at the creek, prawns –
Your favourite
Cooking somewhere in the breeze

Roofed red tiles, curving street, scent of sausages
Drying ignored and becoming potent like an education
A radio clicks, fuzz of signals punctuate the harbour
A ferry roams in its waves and reaches you pregnant

While I sip insipid tea from a patrao’s cart
The season brews over the river, coming with it
An ancient scent of stacked cashews