Bombay Rain

5 07 2010

I could never fathom

how monsoon bulletholes
hadn’t ripped apart the sky
of a beggar’s jigsaw smile

or the enigma of words

dropping

like
raindrops
congealed
mid-sentence
in
an
urchin’s
throat

as he watched a tear
in his plastic tent
explode out of his universe

the shards of his tacit
pleas smothering him

and carving out his foot
swollen jackfruit yellow

how mere seconds later
he’d be laughing
and striking the Titanic pose
while sailing his boat to America
and back in the flood outside
Govandi station

how his father
Traced his weariness on the
drenched corners of a McD’s
Banner that became the side wall
of his makeshift home
with decrepit
railway tracks for a floor.

how the blind night never stole silently
into his tent. How she waited.
Crouching dog-like.
shaking her deathrattle.
Cursing in the Braille of
leptospirosis.

snickering in the corner as she
burnt her tongue trying
to bite the troubled dreams
of a family never knowing.

how he could
come out smiling
the next day. When his eyes
betrayed the sleepless

night of watching
the ooze of someone else’s
garbage licking the
edge of his charpoi.

water rising with the
audacity of anticipation

Swordlike in its quick
embrace girdling his youngest
daughter’s broken toenail.

***

It’s fortunate isn’t it?

That I am here

Safe
Blanket-wrapped
Buttock-warmed

sipping hot chai that
his wife made for me
Before she left.

Ajinkya Shenava

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