Mind the Gap
It is behind me.
I am taking the way out.
Look away, snigger.
Last night, it rained jamuns
Wine red, purple tongue!
We huddle under a tree,
A bunch of stragglers, wondering sober,
Where the night went so early.
But the night is a slippery cat,
Lying on the roof, our drunk heads,
Trying to twirl, with jamun tongue
A perfect syllable.
Ma is afraid of water after dark.
Not the glass or jug, but the pumping station
Across the street.
Once she told me why.
When she was five,
Oruni, the village Huck Finn,
Who ran after ghosts and no book could catch up with her,
Oruni told my ma, goggle-eyed,
Kopili, the river behind their thatched houses,
Was getting married the next evening.
All the rivers would come,
Bordoisila, Dibang, Disang, Kolong,
All the sisters of Brahmaputra would
Flow through their village!
It would rain and thunder,
So much fun.
Ma wonders if the water station
Keeps all those rivers, bottled
She can’t stand maps too, after dark
I haven’t the courage to ask her why
These poems were published in the Jan-March 2016 issue of The Indian Quarterly.
Photo Credit: Thamizhpparithi Maari