Lean brown dog, drool dripping,
walks on to the dewy green lawns of Mananchira Square
sniffing, surveying the young lovers
sprawled leisurely under the observing eyes
of Pathumma’s Goat, distracting them.
The girl extends her hand to pet
the wet fur of the brown dog,
who watches closely, cautiously.
The bitch walks away as her master ambles towards her.
The young man gathers up his messy mundu,
kneels before her, and renew their affection
once again, on another walk on another day.
At the centre of the Square, under the Handstand Statue Man,
a crowd has gathered, unbothered by the brown dog
or her master. They stare blankly at their screens,
their eyes lit up only by the odd immoral kiss
spied under the knotted tree, as sun sets
on another dripping evening in the city.
The brown dog moves to a corner, leg-lifting, marking the city as hers.
I have plastic eyes, deceptive and black
in the glimmer of the night. In the light,
brown. It is in love that the colours change.
The green of summer to the burning red
of fall, to the dreary white of winter.
Welcoming me was the meandering
lonely streets of a desolate town.
I call home and say, I am here. Safe and cold.
Last winter, I was in my lover’s arms
warm from all gusts and outbursts. Safe as home.
One day, the world will point and say, look here
he feels deeply, he feels tenderly.
My plastic heart trembles at the mere thought.
Outside my window, the traffic crawls, halts
before riding off into the distance.
Church bell tolls every morning twenty-two
minutes past nine. Eggs for breakfast, warm shower.
In every step I take, I chant and pray:
fulfiller of desires, I bow to you
on this my quest, grant me sustained success.
Turning colours in my mouth, words sticking
to my teeth and tongue, I pass through my days.
In corners of warmth, I sit gently down
and acquaint myself to strangers. Weeks ago,
an hour slipped back into the clock, unnoticed.
Everyday strangeness unfolds before
my eyes. Garbage bin overflows. Corner
of the kitchen houses the recyclables,
contributions from nine countries. Kitchen
shivers, engulfed in wintry darkness.
I may grovel the rest of my life
in a stew of effort, of misguided hope.
Come what may of it. I will go to sleep
fulfilled, strangely content. Only to be
woken by church bells, by another day.