|Photo : Leela|
You are the unformed house
I lay the bricks, dab cement
Sprinkle water, sun-dry
Strap each pillar with tarpaulin sheet
Heaving with your breath.
The lines, creases
of dried cement
Descend from my veins.
There are no doors or windows
They will grow rust or break and crumble
In earthquakes of untouched despair.
There are no walls
They will chip and grate
Into dust of weariness.
There are no bentwood chairs and gilded mirrors
They will sit heavy on me with your impression
They will glare at me like a fasting stomach
There are no cupboards
They will break open
Into a gust of our love-making.
There are no beds or pillows
They will question the unlawful passing
of night into day.
There is a marsh-filled backyard
Brown-hazed winter bed of dry leaves
A dry red periwinkle (bearing no fragrance of you)
A monsoon cloud in a dog’s eye
An open book with pages fluttering
Like my quivering fingers
Waiting to touch you
And an open leaking water tap
Pounding on corrugated roof of memories
Folded one by one by me
Reeling under your disappearance.
The Tea Leaves from Yesterday’s Cup
How many times I see the tarmac
It slips into my sleeping eye
Like a dead body into an electric pyre
Storing ashes of a disputed memory.
The bread-loaf friendliness
of strange things surrounding me-
The two-storeyed white houses plunged in darkness in Ghazipur selling papers
The frail Sikh vendor of a weighing machine at Dwarka Mor
The lover decking up on Lohri
The child dreaming like a fish.
How many times I see the eucalyptus tree at Kaifi Azmi Marg
and imagine it as the coconut tree of my hometown.
I surmise incumbent death
From its skinned white
Husk at throat
made from hairfall
of my ancestors
-a lover's distant nod in a crowded place
The dead writes obituaries for trees
Shows us hair-roots
where guilt is sewage-heavy
My fingers embrace tree rings
My crooked body hides your beauty
My leaves listen to your swingdoor confessions
You squirrel- climb branches of guilt
My branches spread apart
Loosening grip, an eternal threat
Of abandoning you
You grip my sleeplessness
Like a hungry cheetah
I look at you from vulture's vantage point
Filled with doom of a life I am tenderly shedding
How many times the onlooker streetlight in Delhi
filigrees shadows of
(Floating in the dark waters of Dakshineswar Ganga)
Of my escapism
Of my guilt-incarnate voice
of loving the lost twice.