In memory of

Could we trade the next gush of wind for your soul’s return

could we end all sorrow with your laughter

could we go back to the beginning

to when forgetting was a passage

forged from brighter memories.

Can tomorrow take her back to you

can you wish upon the next shooting star

from the bed of roses you lie on

wish for just one more day

just a few more minutes

for her to tell you.

I was absent in my presence

expecting assured tomorrows

I ran away as soon as I heard

I had to use the night’s darkness

shroud myself from the guilt, numb

I didn’t feel pain , just emptiness

just a void where snatches

of our conversations

of conversations about you

spiraled, hurled through my continuum.

I drowned it in the sound of the sea

the vastness of the sky

the grains of sand

each one stuck to me

like the words you never heard

the love you never had.

She’s broken but strong

she deserved to know

who they were, what they’ve done

maybe in a parallel universe

she knows and it’s all okay

and there’s no coffin

and no tears

no silence

and no fears

Maybe one day she’ll know

and when she does

I’ll be there, kuku

I promise you.

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Balloon Seller

Barely five

Spunk, fifteen

and the wit, fifty

The balloons he carries

bobbing on the ends of sticks

like his head

on the pike carved by poverty

he manages to keep it upright

but they push him down

seldom bullied

but ignored

not worth the effort

lowest of the low

a mere fruit fly

in a world of leeches

craving better blood.

 

His father showed him

everything he shouldn’t be

but he became anyway

the cycle destined to repeat

forever set on a loop

the rich get richer

the rest get wearier.

 

And once more he chants

“bhaiyya, le lo na ek”

“behen, oh behen, de do na kuch”

and once more he sees

how they unsee him

and one last time

he disappears

into the river

his balloons bobbing

in the water

but his head

nowhere to be seen.

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