At the Corner Café

my god is afraid of lighting,
or so he says over irani chai and bun maska
at the corner café,
I fear the unknown, I tell him,
as I stare at peeling paint,
the dark that is to come,
the now that shows no symptom of the disease,
everything has an innate propensity for horror,
for gore, for ending;

he thinks I’ve lost my sense of adventure,
what happened to the seduction of a good mystery,
the promise of discovery,
but he doesn’t know about loss,
his math is built on averages and progression,
now the clock ticks louder and the unfinished,
the incomplete, looms large over an ever
approaching horizon;

and what on earth is fearful about lightning,
as if he is all alone in the open,
likely to be struck down by an infernal mess
of his own making,
he smiled then,
like the blue of the after-storm;

quickly turning over a newspaper
with the picture of a child
in front of a burning building,
his eyes shifting away from mine,
his hands shaking just a little as he
picked up the plastic menu,
maybe I imagined it, maybe I was afraid
of what I would never know;

will you try the kheema pav, he asked,
if I promise it will be good?

The first poem in this series, published on The Lake is here.

 

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40 thoughts on “At the Corner Café

  1. A difficult but satisfying read, Rajani. I particularly enjoyed the final stanza, when the god who is afraid of lightning comes face to face with something much more frightening and changes the subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the idea of sharing a bite with a god… especially one who is afraid of both lighting and lightning (I hope one isn’t a typo, if it is, lie to me because I love it). And then ending is perfect. Just perfect.

    Like

  3. Anyone who has come face to face with death will know exactly what these lines describe:

    “the now that shows no symptom of the disease,
    everything has an innate propensity for horror,
    for gore, for ending…”
    and
    “now the clock ticks louder and the unfinished,
    the incomplete, looms large over an ever
    approaching horizon”

    This poem is beautiful for it’s distinct truth, as in the above quotes and in details like the plastic menu and the casual change of subject that occurs at the end.
    I enjoyed this very much!

    Liked by 1 person

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