Three Poems

Sunday Afternoons are Escaping

The Sunday afternoon dips its toes quietly in rose water
and stays there looking at the purple flowers escaping
from stories inside books. They overstayed in their desire
to be found and when no one came, slipped away to find
new homes, peeping into this poem, that mosque, this hill
where the sunlight falls askance like a soft quilt escaping
the sky and tumbling into the earth. But I cannot see any
of this, witness the small glories of minutes and their
bodies waiting on the ridges of teacups in which we don’t
squirt lemon anymore. We are out. The amber warm
liquid at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon quietly watches
me as someone says, even my hope is tired. The tea goes
on being aromatic, helped between someone’s hands
and the purple flower sits pretty in the saucer. The
Sunday afternoon, smelling gorgeous, climbs out
of our window and steals itself away. We do not notice. 

To write about a lunch table without adding to it a sacredness

I will need to rearrange everything it has come to mean to me and everyone else I know. Do the grapes and sugarcane and stale bread lie on on the table overnight while the house help takes the day off or does the vinegar spill on it go stale and I sprinkle baking soda in a fit because it has been nine long lives, two weeks, and four hours of the same existence. The prayers are small and thus Can we have the conversations first and the food later, in no particular order? asked to no one that we can see. One day, the red ants swarm a large portion of the long table and we are not home. We are away in a place full of unwashed rice being cooked on forgotten fires, in a country where the time falls so thick you can spread it on your morning toast, where the words never amount to an emotional avalanche, but we do not speak. A large migration is happening from East to West and yet, no one has moved, the brandished sun is setting on the people of a punitive God. We shamelessly eat the rice and the smell of vinegar is on our skins. How? I don’t know. Do not ask me.

Can I Please Not Have This Dance?

By the time we had finished our bonsai project,
placed it on the window near the bookstand, 
and washed our fingers in rose water, the TV 
was playing an old song in two-tone picture.
We had decided to agree that the stars were now 
reorganised — by a clerk who wore red on Fridays
and black all other days — filed out into all the 
wrong cabinets just before the weekend. 
As the constellations rearranged themselves, 
changing our stories with them as they were,
we forgot all about the bonsai next morning,
and every morning there after, tending to the
ripped raiment of love, witnessing the unguarded 
scratches on the sky. I have since carried the
purple bruise of your absence in the palm of my hand.
We followed the wobbly dance of this careless cosmic
design, each day the same as before, doing a little
jump now and then, sighing more than usual,
our bodies unable to cry, and sometimes, 
I stumble. Forgive me. 

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