Sunset Murals (Three Poems)

Our sunscreen is melting

The house we stand in front of is made of broken white,
collected silence, unloved days, and empty water ducts
that have been dry for so long we find bird nests strewn in them.

We are afraid to sweep away the beds of brown leaves,
nests et al, because we know we won’t be able to let the
water back into the ducts, keep it clean, cool down the house. 

Gathered in front of a nest that looks recent, waiting 
for the promise of new life, we hold the brooms unmoving
as someone brings drinking water in a clay pot for the Four of us. 

We look towards the cloudless sky, leave our brooms,
don’t disturb the empty nest, gather round the pot on the
ground passing the single steel glass around from hand to hand.

Wiping sweat on our faces with tissue, handkerchiefs,
dupattas, we realise that the bird may not return to its nest
anytime soon, and that our sunscreen is melting into our hands.

Return all the scarves of the women you turned into poetry

those sizeable pieces of cloth bought with
little enthusiasm, little carelessness, worn on local trains,
scorching buses, classrooms and forgotten everywhere; 

red, pink, blue with a sheen of gold or embroidery
and little beads that get stuck her in hair,
dollops of colour thrown overhead and placed in abandon;

wear a scarf, bow your head, walk quickly with
downcast eyes, carry golden needles in your
handbag, furiously pinprick at the fabric of reality; 

lay it down on the sand, throw on it your sunglasses,
walk your feet into the froth of the sea, feel the chill
rise up to your spine, take a polaroid, leave it inside your twenties; 

the perfume on the scarves is from the past,
the past is known, scented, before you. the future is behind you,
unseen, following you, so dance, dance into the unknown;

I carry my love to the gazebo

and have a long talk with it about its intentions
of living it up, not for reverence but for pleasure 

we cease living in the urgency of the moment,
the moment itself is in no hurry, 

i quit praying to the pools of water I laid outside at night
in which I found angels floating lifeless in the morning 

my love is not only for those with little white wings,
it dawdles with those have unruly hair, nails, and ways 

i’m unshakeable when surrounded by people out for a walk,
my right to gamble away my love publicly is my own

i put it on the bench, ask it to be anything, ask it to
be seen as a paradox — unpretty and adamant for joy 

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