At this hour

Poems don’t rise like firebirds here, kindling hope
and faith and new dimensions. They waddle, lazy,
awkward, with nothing much to say. Redemption

from mediocrity must be sought from other sources.
But at this hour, she steps out of that house, still
warm with desire, a koel nibbles on the moon-mouth

trapped in the neem tree, a street light, dew-diffused,
slips between her skirt and skin, a gulmohar branch
scrapes the top of a milk truck, red flowers scattering

everywhere, a petal sticks to the bottom of her shoe,
like evidence, as if someone is watching, strays whimper
in the grammar of dawn, early sunbeams arch along

her curves as she turns into the bend — at this hour, just
common longing, an unremarkable crow gathering the
dark, awkward, lazy, poems with nothing much to say.

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