45. shatabdi

Somewhere between Mysore and Bangalore
past stalls marked “pig mutton”
and fields of bowing banana trees,
two little girls became best friends.
They came up with nicknames for each other,
named a stray pot belly pig they saw
rummaging through the garbage by the tracks,
taught each other Kashmiri songs
and the Tamil word for “tiger.”
When they reached the station,
they didn’t trade numbers,
or business cards,
they simply parted ways.

On my flight to Jaipur,
a woman named Nirupama asked me if India was too hot.
She braided my hair on a layover, despite my insistence,
poured me some chai, kissed me on my eyebrows,
before she boarded
and disappeared
into the sky.

Somewhere between East and West,
I met you,
and the air was full of Things To Say,
and we became a sheaf of poems
until one day we were not.


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