Art by Malay Bargali
To Baudelaire by Jeet Thayil
I am over you at last, in Mexico City,
in a white space high above the street,
my hands steady, the walls unmoving.
It's warm here, and safe, and even in winter
the rain is benign. Some mornings I let
the sounds of the plaza - a fruit seller,
a boy acrobat, a woman selling
impossible fictions - pile up in a corner
of the room. I'm not saying I'm happy
but I am healthy and my money's my own.
Sometimes when I walk in the market
past the chickens and the pig smoke,
I think of you - your big talk and wolf's heart,
your Bonaparte hair and eyes of Poe.
I don't miss you. I don't miss you when
I open a window and light fills the room
like water pouring into a paper cup,
or when I see a woman's white dress shine
like new coins and I know I could follow
my feet to the river and let my life go
away from me. At times like this,
if I catch myself talking to you,
I'm always surprised at the words I hear
of regret and dumb boyish devotion.
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