Samantha loves this place for some reason.
She’ll come home from school
after sunset, sand-footed and breathless.
“Where were you?”
“Just walking the beach.”
I don’t get it,
the inspiration she draws
from romanticizing ragtag
cardboard shops, shore made
of Kingfisher shards,
“American” masala corn
for 20 rupees
from an auntie with a sweaty grindstone.
Sam insists I come with her
one day, after school,
I am skeptical; we go.
An old man’s monkey flips for passerby
and awaits fat coins to tip into his metal cup.
Women in half-hearted saris
try to hand me a dart rifle to pop balloons
with needle-sharp thwacks.
But when the sun leaves, I understand
why these moments keep her coming—
the promise of ocean, no matter how;
how the corn seller’s firestone
makes it look like she’s