Wednesday 20 August, 2008

Paper Money

For Shefali

In August, still broke from April,
each ceramic tile, each checkered bedsheet
is strewn with newspapers.

Five days in the city of my birth,
six days worth of crosswords,
one small vodka and apple juice.

I could cry.

In a conversation, she mentioned
that being alone built character.
She has a way with words; I was convinced.

In July's rain, I thought it was luxurious.
I'll tell you what it was. It was sound.
Rain, like a friend knocking on my windows.

I went to Bangalore,
met family, drank with friends,
watched overdressed Hindi cable TV with Ma.

Fell back into his arms beautifully.

Here again, in the nail-biting finish of my floors
I ignore yesterday's news,
trying to find a handful of clues.
9 Across chuckles at my inability,
it is 24 degrees Centigrade,
and I want summer again,
or rain, or anything more extreme,
that this semi-cold shoulder
of a twin city.

I sit here in the studied squalor of Secunderabad
wondering if, in any weather at all,
she feels like I do.

I wouldn't wish it on her worst enemy.