The evening passes in tense awkwardness
of politesse and thank-yous inching around
soul aches and knee touches seemingly oblivious
Until the charade comes to an end
and a simple “Drive?” hangs in the air.
We loop around roads I told apart
by the aging temple, the Gulmohar
in full bloom, the coy stationery
huddled in between, but no more.
They go by, hurt,defiant at being
forgotten. I memorize instead
Your checkered shirt stretched taut across
shoulders that promise respite
The ache to trace a finger across that back
translating to a pathetic, wandering
finger on the strap slung across
and when you shake your head trying to understand
if what boils in you wells up in me
I count the small number of grey hair,
Register the exact tint of your Ray-Ban,
trace the shape of your teeth through the boyish smile-
Only stopping when
I look at the soul shining out of the reflection
of your gaze in the rear-view
Terrified to see the same fire in mine
And with an effort that might have
Ousted Atlas’s, wrench eyes away.
the temple, the Gulmohar, the stationery-
they’re all ablaze.