I stand before the madman listening to his laughter. Amid the noises of the road, it is a reminder of your closed eyes, your long arms, your ruffled hair, your forgetful ecstasy. I no longer want my mirror on the wall. As in a clear drop of sun, I can see the world in its infancy: clay-coloured, wide-eyed, pearl-like.
5.46, ANDHERI LOCAL – Arundhathi Subramaniam
In the women’s compartment of a Bombay local, we search for no personal epiphanies. Like metal licked by relentless acetylene, we are welded dreams, disasters, germs, destinies, flesh and organza, odours and ovaries. A thousand-limbed million-tongued, multi-spoused Kali on wheels. When I descend, I could choose to dice carrots or a lover. I postpone the latter.
ELEGY – Manohar Shetty
One by one they fall away, some gently like brown leaves. Others with gnarled roots, hold fast to their bleak and emptied plot, to which no water or salt, prayer or miracle can grant another lease. But sure as the turning days, there will be other trees, wet with rain and crowned, green in the sun and other leaves born with new lines on their palms.
HOW DO YOU WITHSTAND, BODY? – Gieve Patel
How do your withstand, body, destruction repeatedly aimed at you? Minutes, seconds, like gun reports, tattoo you with holes. Your area of five, by one is not room enough for the fists, the blows. All instruments itch,to make a hedgehog of your hide. It’s your fate, poor slut: To walk compliantly before heroes! Offering in your demolition a besotted kind of love: Dumb, discoloured, battered patches. Meat-mouths for monsters’ kisses.
APPROACHING FIFTY – Arvind Krishna Mehrotra