The Surface

a one-year old stands in front of a mirror,
smiles at the baby in it, who smiles back at him,
gurgles a few words of hello, and
reaches for his friend trapped inside the mirror world.

the shiny surface thwarts his efforts,
he bangs on it with his small yet forceful palms
and later, with a toy he finds lying around.

a single crack forms from one edge to the opposite;
the boy keeps striking to liberate his little friend,
until the glass breaks and falls at his feet;

now his friend is lost forever.

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a length of thread, a small wooden ball –
3 cm in diameter and 100 gms in weight –
tied to its end, suspended in air
at a 35 degree angle, on the top of a mountain

the wind wonders
whether to make it swing back and forth
or tear the ball from the thread and send it downhill

and the thread waits for its fate.

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The Wait

pieces of water,
their molecules colluding with each other,
keep their secrets close
and adamantly lounge within their tender home.

far away in the mountains, an old forlorn tree,
her branches stooped and fragile,
and almost on fire in the June heat,
wait for them to move.

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words from another poem

there are poems buried under sand dunes

in the desert, she walked on the burning sand,
pushing hard against the soles of her feet,
while words flew from chapped lips;
with nowhere to go, they fell on desert fires.

the desert wind heaps sand all over the words
and time makes poems of them
for explorers to unearth.

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The fading of blossoms


the grumbling sounds of clouds at 2am
seep into my pain-ridden sleep, reminding me
of ice-cubes clinking in a glass of whisky
before the alcohol numbs your consciousness.

rain leaves the clouds and becomes a soundtrack,
alternately gentle and turbulent, to my midnight desires;
i stare through barred windows as the vertical streams
break reality into neatly spaced squares

and i imagine the fate of the gulmohar blossoms –
proud, red, fiery and morally upright –
they make a canopy under my normally blue sky,
but did they have a chance tonight

against the bullets of water that shoot into
their velvety red bodies? i imagine them
crumpled and lifeless on shimmering, deserted streets
lying with their comrades, all of them collateral damage,
to the parched dreams of you and me.

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This is ti-
me, it never caresses
us, it blazes our skin, burning
our bated breath, turning our
cheeks red;

This is a spa-
ce between you
me; it grows, like the roots of an
old banyan tree

that our children will swing on
one day;
long roots, strong roots, but
none bold enough to tie

and us

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Things Left Behind

Words, that I string together into a rope ladder,
and climb down into the well overflowing with darkness,
where I sleep with no burdens; and upon awakening
scramble in the dry earth for more words,
for the ladder that has disappeared.

Spaces, that I accumulate around myself to make a wall,
like a speck of dust in the center of the bubble
of a protective sheet of bubblewrap; but whether
I am protecting myself or something else
that needs protecting, I will never understand.

Time, cool and gentle, that we held in our hands,
spilled over when you started moving abruptly;
now fallen all over the path in front of me,
certain moments glimmering in the midday sun,
making the path slippery for me to walk on.

The crumbled remains of sandcastles that collapsed
under the tide; hope, “the thing with feathers”*,
now floating through the expanse of spaces
and spilled over time, still searching for a rope ladder
to come back up from the bottom of the well.

(*Emily Dickinson wrote, ” ‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers – “)

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