The street could do with more asphalt.
Earlier, every turn played itself out. A trick
between us, the built and the living.
I have no use for the steps I take
from the Front Lawns to the Boys’ Hostel.
Not anymore. From the gates, the garden
looks like a landfill next to a mine,
and god damn it’s tough -
explaining a romance with something ugly.
The hostellers walk in, walk out, in track
pants, loose vests, and t-shirts immune to dirt.
Tonight, it’s a reunion, and in the field,
the rest of the well-dressed us speak softly
with the warden, with each other. How gentle
this formality perfected with time.
How easy our smiles, falling in floods.
Just standing here is not THAT fun, you know -
it’s a junior. I like the guy. Irreverent.
No sir, only nostalgic. That — I point
at a light — used to be my room. Now it’s his.
I’m happy they have left the dimensions intact.
Nothing uglier. EXACTLY like you left it, no?
A chuckle before he rushes out to get cigarettes,
the air in the room an example of the participle.
I wipe the dust off the table, Bob Marley
exhales an expression on the wall. Waiting
for my friend, I ease into his bed, which was
also my bed, and resolve not to cry.
M I H I R V A T S A
Mihir Vatsa is the author of Painting That Red Circle White (Authors Press 2014). A former Charles Wallace Fellow with University of Stirling,
he is the winner of Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize & an award in Writing from Toto Funds the Arts, Bangalore.
Mihir is the publisher-editor of Vayavya.