Building

In plain sight it seems sleepy – the lanes, the bylanes
The many wooden houses murmuring in foreign languages
Subtitled locally

While in the chowk the Chinese restaurant clinks, its door open
The wok once sterile now smothered, over and over
Fried rice and beer

I wait downstairs watching clouds serenade your roof – summer
The urge of jumping in cold water, the cart of lime soda
A passing cloud cover

Decades on you still make me stand unattended – your scooter
An ornament embedded in a brick building, whose opening
Guarded by an untitled watchman
Watching another year pass by without a whistle

Mother of Two

I’m sad to meet you again, mother of two
Scared in a supermarket stuttering at the counter
Hunting for change

Your dark circles root towards our days
Scattered in suburbs drinking whisky
Pouring poetry, singing badly
The grim romance of Chinese lanterns
In your room-mate’s house where we were alone

You’ll only get older, scarier
And me, stranger, lost, probably never
To see you again; how sad it will be to
meet you again, more aged and remember
That I once promised you our own island at fifty

Dispersed

Sobered by winter you crossed streets, finicky
Muttering untruths under your moustache, absolving
The wind with your cheeks ridden by tears

Unhappy and generally unclean, spotted
At dingy late-night coves of country liquor, praising
The keeper for his honesty and laughter

You dispersed into many beings and fit nowhere,

So much for staying alien, a city’s problems
Tied to your ankle while nails rust at your crucifix
The kites encircle meat houses at noon screaming
At you when walk past blocking the sun from your years

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

Waiting

I watched your favourite shows with you
Even the adverts, the escalating 
Crowd on the bridge 
Caressing the railings to feel the sun 
Even looked at your photo albums, telling you
That you liked nice earlier and nicer now 

And when your team lost I laughed at life 
Mocked the pigeons at your window
Made you smile and stirred iced tea, refilling 
Your eyes with great memories about yourself 
You said you wanted to fly 

Why one leaves without notice is a mystery 
I’d know only if you return and share yourself 
Again, maybe this time we’ll actually make a trip 
To your village and run across your farm 
Taking the flush of breezes into the night 
Where the moon arrives slowly, waiting 
For your silent smile to ferment 

Five Things I Desire From Monsoon

Drizzle. Touch me faintly, at first
then all at once, as a downpour
Dissolve me beautifully as I become
A body of rivers

At night, percussion outside
Providing me a beat to breathe with
Caressing my ears like a distant lover
Bringing soft breezes

Direct every bird in the valley, to
sing their dreams together, giving us
childhood songs to remember
later in urban summers

While others bring me troubles, you
bring me my antidote – the aroma
of your tears wetting mud

And much later, over a grey terrace
Mask my woman’s face
with yourself, as I uncover you
using touches, stay with us for longer
As we grow fond of you