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after Grady Chambers 

After we hung up on each other for good,

I chucked away the self help book on low self esteem 

                              and hurled myself into the odd nooks 

of the city. Memorised new names and faces,

                              and the traffic signals that look 

                    all alike once you doze off in the bus,

but I figured them out eventually— 

                              The trick is the sky, the way the street 

                    tears into it through the worn out rags

                              suspended in the sun—the enigma 

                    of electricity wires always on the verge of collapse—

The curl of the muezzin’s syllable 

                         calling out the believers for Maghrib.

I never cared much for faith but I paid attention

                              to the things that cling to it.

The hunched shoulders and the chapped lips

                               mumbling—the eyelid quiver.

Hands extended into silence like a hyphen, 

               and all the babble converging at some meaning

                         I couldn’t quite clutch the nook of. 

So I kept walking through the swirl of the metropolis, 

               its snickers and shrugs, 

                         shoulders brushing past me and the voice 

                                   that calls out for us all 

               in the beehive city street 

               before the light swallows it whole.

When it got exhausting, I shunned myself off it.

Read stuff I never thought I would. 

                    Election manifestos, graveyard epitaphs, 

                    the physical detail of every person gone missing— 

          Even the bible. And turns out 

that the easiest thing in the history of literature

is to predict the apocalypse. 

                              That we have known 

                              for centuries that the world is going to hell. 

We have hoped for centuries 

               that it does, but it outlives us 

                              like a child that stumbles on 

          against better sense 

                    in a dream under our eyelids.

And we get used to it; the hope 

                                   and its downfall. 

Metro doors shutter on and off 

                         and on and off and we swerve 

          through the stone tunnels 

which was my favourite part of all—

The velocity and whoosh that was the sound of time. 

               The naught of the perpetual night 

                         right before we slit through the dark 

                                        onto the surface again—

Everything that was not 

                         before whatever god it was 

                                        that said let there be light.

Abhinav is a graduate student residing in Delhi. His poems have appeared/ are forthcoming in The Chestnut Review, The Bombay Literary Magazine, trampset and other publications.

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