How many sunsets have you let pass
without watching, by yourself, the sun sink?
How many rooms have you stood in,
hour after hour, facing different walls
that told you nothing ever of time?
How many buses have you travelled in,
how many taxis, autorickshaws,
how many cars, wondering who sat on
your seat before you and who after?
The solemn hills, the mountains
with no trees, the lightest breeze
scuffing names off of gravestones,
the careful peacock tiptoeing
across shrubs: tell me, how many steps
Is it from your heart onto your soul?
Bodies At Shore (Marine Drive, Bombay)
Stitched together like the seven islands
The Queen’s Necklace has our sea
In a noose of blinking lights.
Their sparkles exhausting by the twinkle
emulate the spirit of this 6p.m. man,
who peruses the lights in a slow left to right
and concludes it isn’t the alphabet he’s reading
(it’s the morse code, he later mumbles
as his thoughts play out in the metropolitan
syntax, where time is orderly disordered
and memory fortuitous. For example: the drawing
of strange metaphors, including one of the beak
of a tropical bird to the perky breasts of an actress)
and smiles and simply looks away.
Far from the towers and waters
the whispered promises of knee
cupped lovers surround your senses,
while a pariah paws the chowpatty
In an aimless search for meaning.
An English moon appears in the blue,
hopeful, but vanishes as quickly she came.
Tamil Sailors fish in Arabic seas—
Bombay eels squiggled in little nets.
As if touched by something profound,
Your eyes rise and you gaze
and gaze not knowing where.
Only the waves, you say,
do not belong.
Portrait of a Room
Shattered. When did the windows open?
Knives or curtains, still stalactites
a centimeter from tile floor.
No trumpet hums for the royal
Blue that now crawls my room.
Stained white ornaments. Three blades
Of the fan—into sight.
Light switches bent on, yet it is day.
Pillow puffed one side. Raped pillow
islands king bed. One step or two, step
By the abruptness of silence,
Into the thin safety of smudged mirrors.
About the Author
Adithya Patil is a student based in Bangalore, India. His poems have appeared/are appearing in various journals including Muse India, The Drabble, Scarlett Leaf Review, Eskimo Pie, Literary Yard and Borderless Journal. He was also selected for the 2019 Times Scholars Program.