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AISHWARYA IYER
bus home

For Adi

We talked.
And then the roasted smell
in the bus
blew in and out of the window
thick and lacquered by brown
male bodies. [I dreamt
of a couch] The pallid man
two nailless steps beyond
stiffened in a yellow shirt
mouthed his moustache
like a showpiece. [I didn't
see his eyes]
I sat inside his head with
white splayed legs and
snipped his thought tendrils.
Snip. Snip. Man and woman
were used to mutual raw destruction.

The bus swallowed the yellow
street and littered it with scraps
of sound. In any case the whore
at Kennedy bridge had already entered
her old, daily Universe: which street
has its own authentic silence? Silence
is unoriginal and second-hand
in being the absence of sound.
[We all know all sound is whore-noise]

And the dust, brazen and lonely
smothered me with milk-love
[I closed my eyes, for it was
too much to take at one go]

The assembly of male bodies
melted like a memory
of recollected dream;
they streamed into their own
blood-streets. I heard them
wrestle against themselves,
falling, falling,
like brown angels
freed into the neon-lit sky.
[I held my hands in angles
and tried to memorize shapes,
lines, shadows and crawled out
of the bus at the last dangling stop]

Night stuck in my throat.
No sleep. Only fish eyes. Being
watched by one's own images -
a barber kneading his scootered
customer's daunted head
in the spill of the cankerous light
of a Navarathri hoard. One
always finds blisters of Loneliness
in teeming People fields. Each
cherishes the other. And kills it.
[It's dawn]