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

Rain

I loved you like the rain
That awakens the whole city with relief
Embalms and cleanses, provides and floods
Breaks for occasional strobes of sun
Children play football and open their arms to the sky
You resurfaced,

becoming yourself, you settled
finally smiling and narrating poetry
stirring cups of coffee, washing
away
disasters that reduced you
coming to me as woman and child

You couldn’t love me as the rain, instead
wavered like the wind and floated
back into back habits
bringing the sun out and dried
every drop from our lake

I let go like the rain that leaves a city
Gradually then all at once
In summers to come you’ll look at sky
Parched
Why aren’t the clouds arriving, one asks

Fields, circa 2010

in the interim, your hair disturbed
by October and its slow winds
flurrying over fields of sugarcane
your rustic accent splintering slangs, your fangs
biting into my innocence
what a fabulous season it was
the highway wasn’t built yet, storks circled
pipits danced, the mat we slept on scarred
by tense movements
muscle and bone
hair and breath
evenings and more evenings
nights without names

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