When the Light Turns Red

Ishita

 

(i)

He knocks at your window as he reclaims

A narrative from a lost kingdom

One, where they rolled down their windows

And let the lost men in.

The women had all died

Remembering conquered terrains

Those, of a language only they knew

 

They had left behind glittery rubber slippers-

remnants of their last laugh from their last meeting.

The kingdom never called them co-conspirators

The people never looked at them

 

(ii)

He calls himself The City Man

Pastes his résumé on your window

Measures your transfixed eyes

Against the length of his experience

Quantifiable, listed, verified

He tells you he lost a shoe

Amongst a strange heap of burning rubber (“The flames glittered-

As if it rained fairy dust!”)

 

(iii)

The City Man disappears

As if in an obscene gesture

Of hand and mouth.

You find the sheets he pasted in front of your face

 

Burning in the backseat

As the light turns, red to green

Green to pink

And you spot a black leather shoe

Swinging, tied to a shiny street light pole

As if left around to mark lost pathways.

 

(iv)

The joke, my friend, is on you.

 

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