dine out

A tangle of ribs
Dipped in BBQ sauce
Lies between us
Our forks poke in out
Attacking the flesh
Scouring the plates
Beneath the table
Our shoes meet
Sudden brief pauses
Amidst uncontrolled giggles
Eyes flash at one another
Noises cannot interrupt us
We exist in a separate bubble
A little world of our own
Where the right phrases
Placed together, illicit smiles
Some even light up your eyes
None of us are in a hurry
Time keeps slipping through
Unnoticed, the shadows grow
Empty streets beckon
But do you really want to leave?

lapses in memory

My memory keeps fading like a tissue paper with a single drop of water that falls on it and spreads, keeps spreading. A blot of damp, darkened tissue paper. I forget names of people, birthdays, when Ramadan ends, where is Ahmedabad, which professor taught us which optional course, what movie I have seen last, what did I do in school, what was my breakfast day before yesterday… They blend into each other and become inseparable, like watercolour, bleeding into one another space, confusing boundaries, unrestrained. If anyone asks me whether I have heard this song, I nod yes, yes I can recall it, and then I open google on the sly, putting in the strange name that feels only ever so slightly familiar as it rolls off my tongue. Have I really heard this song before? I take the sandwich from the shopkeeper and smile thanks, nice man, always jovial, greets me every morning, on work days this is where I get my breakfast, we do small talk sometimes, his mother loves old jazz and so we would listen to Coltrane when the morning crowds have just dwindled or died out and he would tap his fingers to the beat. She liked his easy going personality, what was his name again? “You could have just remembered to wish me at night at least, you know, I waited for you the whole day.” Guilt, shame, but most of all regret washed over me. If only I hadn’t removed the alarm reminder set up to call her, this could have been avoided. I was so confident I would make it. That night, the next, the next ones even years from then. I always thought I would make it, and didn’t. In the end, the water drop on the tissue paper is botched out, a finger probes the damp spot and it tears, bits of threads of tissue fibre float in the air. It’s less of a tissue now and more just white crumbs drifting in the thin air like cotton dust blown away.