Tears shimmering metallic in the moonlight, we turned down the roads back to our homes, far, far away.
Far from this howling corner a plague has swept the world away, but we are the only ones running, walking on the railways. You may run your hand over a shoulder and say “I know, I know” but you fear you’ll never really know. That’s the convenience of guilt blasted from TV sets, product placements come next.
The days are heavy with summer and monsoon brings misery. The master is screaming as we bowed our heads and march on. It smashed the place were we slept, it tore up the railways, it took away our work and people but our family were days away. The rest we could handle, not this.
Now you wait for the ad break and what they say next.
Migrants on their own soil, the caravans walk on thin legs, one hundred kilometers from home. Their calloused skin numbing as the empty roads curled unmercifully across the great resurgent hills and plains. As stars invade, the water slides clear in rivers, brooks, and their home are burning.
When they finally look up, having outrun the silence, there are rifle shots of hunger and life as it always was. Flames illuminate the roads they have taken, thick pillars of smoke blot out the moon of harvest and the bridges are empty.
You are children only in news reports.
I take my time, wondering who the stranger in the reflection is. Watch everything, read everything, hear everything. Well that’s I pretend to want. Feels like we all expect to emerge from the month in lock down with new talents.
The world has too many sharp edges and I have nothing to buff them with. Yesterday a phone call pinned me to the center of someone else’s world. The mirror has splotches and mystery marks I can’t pinpoint. “I prefer keeping work at a safe distance” I tell myself as I take the mirror to the window.
In the light, the stains jump out to me. I erase them, my hand steadily waving at the silent stare in the mirror. The surface is clearer but the image is still hazy, shrouded by fog. The mirrors edges are brittle and discolored, plastic shows its age even if it never goes away. In these times of isolation you have no excuse not to self reflect; so close your eyes, take a deep breath and look into the mirror.
Lines of sun beaten faces twist and curve along the flyover, moving from their still and slightly annoyed expressions to frustrated sighs as the traffic inches by. They turn, look down, inspect their vehicles, stop to have a look at the congestion up ahead while noticing now and then someone else they had previously overtaken, passed by or trailed in some new alignment in relation to them.
Now and then the flyover rumbles underneath the vehicles and humming engines in a concerning manner. The bridges are meant to do this, if they didn’t the bridges would crumble. The rumbling is because of the wiggle room to account for vibrations from vehicles and changes in temperature. Such concerning shakes are possibly an inbuilt safety feature to prevent the lethargy and dullness in the traffic from putting travelers to sleep. Put the traffic to sleep and you’ve killed a city.
Seated on the flyover, one’s line of sight has the dusty tree tops, the unseen and uglier portions of building that their owner’s don’t care to hide and a blue sky. A pedestrian might catch a glimpse of the sky, which on the bustling streets seems like an idyllic escape that hung over a quiet farm or town that once marked the area. The flyover offers a different perspective- the sky empty and echoing the dulling noise, the warm and dusty breeze that seeps out of the city below it and escapes desperately like a man gasping for air, greedily drawing in all that it can to live a little longer.
There are no idyllic villages left, there are warm backwater’s gasping at anything urbane while dust and plastic accumulate along the widening roads that march from the cities. Travelers scratch their heads, pull up scarves, push their sunglasses up after twisting their noses. Dammed fools of them, dammed like the rest of us, blindly grabbing at something the city seemed to promise. There’s got to be someone among those who rule over us who’s tired of squeezing everyone into one tried, dusty ball of confused complaints about how the world is. I really hope there is.
It’s not like the ones on the bridge are getting anywhere in this traffic.
The bare root of the plantations are white
like the hooves of the raiding deer
a crack of thunder in
this season of morning dew
more unfathomable than the waters
and clouds by the mountain slopes
between breaths, I burn.
My shadow the only shade;
I run home to open windows.
A crow laughs over seven lanes
And flies seven streets,
A hand through my hair!- it’s just breeze.
The airs cool when the lane dips,
And soft rain drips glass buttons.
Trail after trail
The joy of ironing
Your own mind
Wake at a wrong bus station.
The price of
Sweet summer sleep
“Don’t you know holy men can live without food or water for days? They never need glasses or medicine. We never get sick!”
The doctor stared. The holy man urged, “I’ll need a few pills and a new pair of contacts to convince my followers- for a few days tops.”