Two Poems – by Suhit Kelkar

by TBLM

Isosceles Majesty

It fluttered into sight,
forming ripples
on the night’s cool surface -
a faint beacon of grey,
the outlines blending.
It settled on the doorframe,
within reach of my tiny palms,
and I caught a glimpse of a plump body
tapering to a pointy end.
It would have been
merely incongruous
without the isosceles majesty
of swept-back wings -
stiff, powder-coated, frantic,
flapping in my fumbling grasp.
I grabbed the strange creature.
I let it go.
The faint smudges on my fingers
spelled out the unspoken language
of the world.
I won’t say I understood the signs.
I didn’t know then
that I would outgrow the lure of moths,
that the world would go on
to leave deeper marks on me.
Now I realise
how the dust of a moth’s wing
becomes precious
when it is given away,
how softness, too, can leave
its indelible mark.

*

At the Cafe

Along this shore,
where countless histories
wash away
in a turgid tide of plastic,
the absence of the past
hums like mosquitoes.
In the streetside cafe,
a tablespoon turns
the evening sun into lava.
A cappuccino’s steam parses
the afternoon silences long enough
to let languid words breathe.
A taxicab rumbles by.
The song playing loudly on its radio
applies to the couple on the motorbike
roaring past, with her red-tipped hands
around his brawny arms,
her buttocks framing his.
There you smile in the cafe chair
with the ease of shedding another skin.
You talk of this and that.
I want to shake you, shout
that the fact is, I realise,
I have crossed the midpoint;
I am now closer
to death than to birth.
So don’t tell me about your job,
your commute, your past, even your life.
Tell me your way of seeing
this shore, this beach.
Show me how you stop time,
if only for a moment.
But yet again
I bite back my words
and let you ramble on.
Because I want to see you again.
The sound of the foamy waves
washing away the sand
is drowned out in traffic
that also ebbs and flows.

***