Hanging over

The rush of earth on morning afters

The lump in the vein threatening to explode on noisy strangers and noisier vehicles

The stretch of loud madness that is the journey from home to work

The dullness of last night’s colours and faces

The hoots and cries after downing tequila after tequila that are now only gasps and sighs

The hope of quiet faraway places and the promise of nothings

The dryness in the throat and a stomach bursting with last night’s gossip and beef

The smell of coffee and the taste of strength

One sip first and four sips later

The dryness still mocks

One part ‘never again’ and five parts ‘I swear’ later

Somebody cracks a joke, you laugh

And your lungs collapse inside and intestines freeze.

You want a heavy lunch

You order a fish thali but the waiter takes time to bring it

He does not know that you are dying

As he smiles at oncoming customers

You look at him with devil eyes making faces, hoping he will notice

He does not notice.

Three menstrual cycles later,

the food arrives

You eat and eat and eat

Soon, you are thankful.

For the world and the food and god, even if you don’t believe in him.

As you walk out, the dog yawning by the sidewalk makes you smile

It stretches its lean back and curls up into a ball and sleeps.


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