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The night and its people
The slope of the sandbar, its casual bulge
of men; they staggered, clutched at hand, at knee.
A need perhaps, to know they were still pieced
together on that falling slope, still firm:
affirmed by gravity. You dismissed them
as drunk. We left them for a girl at a bus stand
stranded between crouching trees. Their hands
patted the air above her, waving cars
into the dark. Her eyes, cigarette burns. Her hair,
was coiled-up smoke. Her heels dendrites, dragging
dregs from some corner of the night. Smoking
later in our room, you claimed the ash as age
lines. Aging ankles, my dendrites. That there
is nothing to the night, just drunks and whores.
It is when you find your body is discrete:
your head, a tilted alembic. Your neck,
a funnel. Sometimes you hear your voice rising
like steam from furnace lungs to hiss nothings.
On coffee tables, your hands seem helpless birds.
They flutter into air and sputter to a stop,
undecided. Some nights, your bones lean weary
into your skin. You learn to appreciate
their weight. Toes squat like pebbles.
You see them settle into the ground
wherever you stop. You worry sitting
will root you. You never sit alone.
You like the idea of not being an island.
You find grooves where your face has learned
to set itself in a smile. You find you smile a lot,
that there is little else to be done. You find
you cannot remember how to look at the sky any more.
Krishnakumar is a poet who lives in Mumbai. His poems have appeared in Cha, Muse India, Kritya, among others.
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