My city wears a sullen look today;
a reluctant bride in a grey corduroy veil,
dragged down a flooded aisle
to kiss her unyielding groom;
her mud splattered dress held high
over shivering stalagmites,
that impale the moulding piety,
trying to puncture the soggy mask
of the unrepentant sky;
Just watch how my city
pouts her ash smeared lips today;
her concrete bosom,
her reinforced waist,
sagging in the incessant rain;
she gathers her wounds
weighs them in mountainous heaps,
do you know you can make offerings,
oblations of sugar or gold or bananas
equivalent to your weight,
to appease the gods?
But you aren’t here. She trembles alone.
This city wrings her hands today
bleeds frothy brown liquid debris,
that rushes in search of the ancient lakes
entombed alive by glass and chrome,
the dregs of the monsoon
lapping her under belly,
on them the footprints
of another time
that spilt marigold rain
on moonlit terraces,
when onion fritters tasted of longing
and old movie love songs.
But this isn’t about us. How can it be?
Come hear my city moan today,
the cry of a mammoth in pain,
she calls me to nest in her matted hair,
taste the nimbus in her murky eyes,
howl aloud with the wind
that lifts her shirt to wipe her clotted nose;
my city that wore magnolia crowns,
bird song ringing from her anklets as she swayed,
watches the train of black umbrellas
and weeps for warmth.
I hold her.
I hear her.
I watch the black umbrellas.
I see you leave bare headed
walking into another rain. Another day.
I sink into her potholed arms
and weep with her for a sun ray.