written by: Prabhanjan K. Mishra
Thrown between us
it sulks on the makeshift table
beside the sandwiches, water bottle.
Saying ‘Bon voyage!’, friends have left.
The train takes a breather
on the outskirts of the city
in absolute silence,
like sensing a premonition.
At intervals, its hydraulics
sigh like our desolation.
A yellow sun smoulders atop,
sending down sweltering hot breaths.
Half-built unoccupied structures
oppress us from track sides,
gaunt and reticent,
heavy with sulk.
I open gift packs: a double bed-sheet,
a book on marriage harmony, condoms.
I feel a taste of rusted iron
settling biliously on my tongue.
You look like an unfocused mask,
your nose, inscrutable Cleopatra.
You let your hair down, an asp
uncoils out of that lovely fall.
I want to shift and nudge
the question, but it looks
swollen and sullen.
I decide – let it be.
The sun moves down the sky, it
blushes with a baby-pink rouge;
the train’s hydraulics have stopped sighing,
apparently, released from strangleholds.
Your face is still an ominous blur,
an uncertain future.
The question sulks on the table,
asking, “Will you, or won’t you?”
I feel tired, the halted train
lethargic and hot, sighing often.
The faceless landscape
feels oppressed, abandoned.
Prabhanjan K. Mishra
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