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  • Sthira Bhattacharya

A Day Stretched Out Like A Bedsheet


on the grass in Lodhi Gardens

a lone woman with the days’ work strung about her

in a bag or two, and shades kept ready for the 5 o’clock sun

sleeps, stock-still

every muscle in her work-day body schooled

to appreciate the shortness

of this hour of rest.

her regular breathing takes its place, with the wasps

in a six centuries old window.

we watch. your six words disappear easily

in the darkness of this ancient bit of entombed air.

there are others:

middle aged women asleep, with children

on the stone floor.

bats perch invisible on some

ledge near the ceiling which is so high up

it is black and cool with echoes

look there, the green and yellow outside

and the long dark shadows where

our friends lie stretched beneath the tree

their loud voices somewhat softened by the sun.

shall we walk to them?

you ask.

let’s, I say.

we trip down the steps of the tomb

cold and silent.

you have your camera,

I have my fears.

we follow dragon-flies to the drooping branches

take off our shoes

and sleep

like family.


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