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.