Rohith Sundararaman

you got wet in the rain and i caught the flu instead

we were sitting on the hill
thinking of mean things
we could say to each other
and i was thinking how you could say
not the usual stuff like i hate you
but say how i wasn’t even a man
now, that would be mean
considering the things we have done to-
gether but you never said any of that
instead you curled your fingers
into mine and slid your head
over my shoulder, waiting for the sun
to set and perhaps it was only me
who thought the sky had ripped open
the sun from our life but i didn’t say that
and as the light faded away, i felt smaller
and smaller till i was almost an atom
and when it became dark
i crushed the grass with one hand
and held you in the other

the sun sets as it rises on some other world

as the night creeps
in, bundles of bodies pile
up along the side-
walk, each fighting for
a slab of kerb on which they
can lay their mattresses, a mash
of cloth and cotton that sinks
into the cracks on
the pavement as their mass
radiates out like a radar call
to a swarm of anopheles

come, sweet ones
at least you can celebrate
our homecoming

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