It was a day like any other
On a street cut for small town living: church steeple,
Shops with apartments above, cafes, a medley
Font of store signs, yawning idlers, distracted
Children and suddenly — you — waiting
As you always did, under an awning
Against red brick lit up by sunlight and shade,
Your lips shaping a silent smile
In the very next instant, dissolving, fading…

Slipping forward out of history’s past, I was
Zhivago on a tram and you, Lara, so near,
On the pavement heading out of view
To a future I could not hold back
With a wave or a shout. If I missed you
By a heartbeat, I missed you by a century.


Saleem Peeradina

Saleem Peeradina

Saleem Peeradina is the author of First Offence (Newground, 1980), Group Portrait (OUP, 1992), Meditations on Desire (Ridgeway Press, 2003), and Slow Dance (Ridgeway Press, 2010). He edited Contemporary Indian Poetry in English (Macmillan, 1972), one of the earliest and most widely used texts in courses on South Asian literature. The Ocean in My Yard, a prose memoir of growing up in Bombay, was published by Penguin Books, in 2005.

Meditations on Desire was recently published in Arabic translation by Kalima Publishers in Abu Dhabi, UAE. His poetry is represented in most major anthologies of Indian, South Asian, and Asian American writing including The Oxford India Anthology of Poetry (1994), Living in America: Fiction and Poetry by South Asian-American Writers (1995), Contours of the Heart (1996), Uncommon Wealth (1997), Vespers: Contemporary American Poems of Religion and Spirituality (2003), The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poetry (2008), and 60 Indian Poets, Penguin Books (2008). The Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Poets (1994) carries an entry on Peeradina. Peeradina has given readings all over the world. In 2003, he served as writer-in-residence at American College, Madurai, India, and at Lenoir-Rhyne College, NC. In 2009-10, he was writer-in-residence at The Chelsea Pubic Library, MI. He is Professor Emeritus at Siena Heights University, Adrian, Michigan.