|Jan/Feb 2018 Poetry|
Textile Photo Art by Jeffrey Trespel
Hot Steel and Water
I said to you that
all my love poems were
for a man who caressed words
in a language I did not understand
a language redolent of
fishing nets and bathing worshippers
under hot steel and water
of speeding trains
on howrah bridge
I told you of
arms lips neck hands
on a half-lit rocky beach
and a once-shared world
of half-light passionate beliefs
but when did you,
bearer of my secrets,
coil like a honey-drip
into the creases of my
day-thoughts and night-dreams?
when did you cross
the two feet of
clean floor, slant rays, table-chair
and coffee froth
that kept the propriety of our speaking
to become the silence
in all my other conversations?
To the man who has traversed me
In thoughts entering me and mine
And asks me to name a love
I return with empty hands
What can I claim?
The shirts I smear with tears
and shades of pink that are washed
clean by other hands?
Or the cologne that stays with me
after a long tube ride
and enters with a cold draught
a place that is not home?
Or the camera with erased pictures
that jostles against his neatly packed lunch box?
Or the abandoned weekends
of family picnics and two-day tourist towns
like an empty cardboard box on a grey pavement
slightly wet from the powdery rain?
What shall I claim?
Even the sadness he presses against me
is not mine.
Evening poems are like
blind windows of empty houses
where no-one indifferently turns on a light
while passing through
to check if the front-door is locked.
They stare in the dark
reflecting street lamps on glass panes
and startle at echoes in their own silences
waiting vacantly for hope to arrive
in brown envelopes
bearing interview calls
or wedding invitations
addressed to Mr. Dhar who no longer lives here.