Two Poems – by Deepa Onkar

by TBLM

sky train

it’s difficult to say what
we are fleeing: the city is far
below. on the front seat, people
read or sleep, their faces suggest
peace. but something dark curls
around my shoulders.

blue must be the colour
of fear. this is my precipice
of impressions – twirling tree-
tops, billboards. yesterday
on the chao praya
the poised buddhas
contemplated tourists and yachts.

fear speeded up wears a mask
of excitement. I watch
shadows leap into those ripples –
the lap of water, the sunlight
infinitesmally close.

stations names attempt to
soothe: sala daeng, rajadamri
siam. a girl yawns and stretches.
someone stares into their phone.
there is a newspaper, a torn
shoe. I catch my breath:
in faraway places the body is home.

*

The Quiet

Rush of traffic.
A quotidian light hangs still
by sharp smells of spices; the grind
sizzle of oil. After months’
absence, this route stirs
your bones : old trees and their filtered
smiles, children cycling
along, unaware

The city beams
a secret sign: a crow clambering
on a soft branch of neem
arches his neck, wings lifted
like a letter from a lost alphabet

Crows, climb
mountains made of wind.
Leaf-hearts drip from Peepal trees.
A quiet steals in,
between the swerves and dips
of unselfconscious talk

The roads do not end.
Concrete buildings have mushroomed
at this spot where a clutch of fruit shops
once stood. Raucous garbage
sizes you up for a foriegner.
Your steps drag on –

The sea has collapsed,
hissing from twisted lips. You stop
and listen to the quiet,
a rush

***