Your love is very Brahmin he says,
obsessed with food and purity.
Well yours stinks she answers, like
fried fish. In this bald city, where
will they sit, how will they whisper.
On a beach devoid of shade, they
shield their eyes from the glare of
the sun. In the Pallavan
she must stand with other women.
Her face dug into the hair of another.
Jasmine sours on the neck of the
stranger, mingling with sweat. There
is so much salt in Madras. In the sea,
on the skin. Here, you don’t add
salt to curd rice, it finds its way in.
The Tamil crows compete with
shrill traffic calls of auto-rickshaws.
Must be your ancestor he says,
pinching her waist, dark and bold.
Even humid. Like our city nights.