Cat house

i will take your home away with me,
i will lure it with morsels of dry cake,
and see it trail behind me, purring,
wagging its tail, following me places,
all of Delhi’s dirty bylanes, and bastis.
i will do it because i take what i like,
i will do it by seeing everything of your
room, and choose to never un-see it.

i will put it on my heavy thighs and pet it gently
as I sit intently listening to poetry recitations,
for hours and hours; i will steal metaphors
from the air to feed it; and catch enjambments
to make a string and tie its neck,
keep it tucked to my warm full breasts,
a feline love affair with the house of my lover.

I will also recite poems,
but those written by you,
and read them,
as if they were written for me,

i will find myself lurking like an unwanted shadow
from a lamp post on a half deserted street,
somewhere in your half-broken sentences
and awful imagery.

while something licks my chubby ankle
with desperate irony.

 

 

 

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Little by little.

hit me plateaus, so I don’t have
to go in circles around you
or climb your mountainous
peaks, only to find so little
of your skin there.

hit me glaciers, so I don’t have
to frolic dizzy like a mad stream
and erode everything I run over;
you freeze me, so I take years
to melt.

hit me parts of you, so I don’t
wander at night in hunger and
nibble at clay bricks off your house;
I want to stop stealing others’
homes now.

don’t rush into me like a waterfall;
I’ll lose you in the noise of your own making;
hit me like the moon hits the face of the
earth, or the earth hits
the face of the sun,

kissing its dark corners,
every hour,
little by little.

 

 

 

 

 

 

nature’s outlaw

Knives hurt less, you were a double-edged sword.

i took down all the clocks, i wrecked the windows,
i drank off the icicles guesting on the thatched roof of my shanty heart,
i walked backwards, i slept upside down, I ate my own words,
so we could love.
you gave me signs, you were nature’s outlaw.
you were the marauding storm, pregnant with homesickness,
you carried desire and death. I should have stayed inside.
you came back again,

offered an apology, more desire and more death,
brought remains from your ravages so we could rebuild;
you promised that this time you’ll ransack at night
without noise,
you pleaded I won’t know of it at all;
you tucked your head inside my belly
and hung lose on my spine,
you cried,
‘I am sorry,
I can’t help it’.

you perched on the sickly marbled portico,
and gaily spread all your loot before a garden weeded with flowers,
I couldn’t choose what you’d use
this time.

you promised it won’t be like last time,
it won’t be exactly like last time. you laughed
and raised your fists, ‘these are big boys now’.
i believed you,

you don’t walk the same street twice.
so you entered from the back door
and this time, you made blue marks on my flesh
because you had learnt my maps so well.

and struck at the right places for not forgiving you
even when you apologised. you called me weak, ungrateful.
you stripped my skin like I was a snake and my skin could be stripped,
and dragged it on the streets for you could not afford to walk without me.
you had to carry something that belonged to me.
I have marred your life, even as you plundered mine.
snakes know how to grow new skins,
but which ever you street you go, the trail of my blood follows you.

even when you apologised.

First, they loot,
and then call us poor.