Slow rolling speed bumps
ripple across the
gently evaporating face
of Mumbai harbor.

Chugging along, in a
licensed ferry, his mind
wanders on the wings
of a gull.

Perspective’s a fishy thing.
The boat – remarkably
smaller than he remembers.

Garland of timid rubber
tires strapped to its sides
– not at all comforting.

He made the pilgrimage
many times, as a kid.

Left behind
bits of himself,
each time, so he’d have
reason to return.

Stray monkeys greet him
at the pier, with listless,
hungry eyes.

They’re not looking for
conversation. And he
can’t talk anyway. Not
like he did.

Now it’s a struggle
to hold their gaze.
Without a hand
full of ground nuts.

Waving them off,
he rides the rusted
toy train to the end
of the line,

rushes up steps
past shops hawking
all sorts of who knows

doesn’t slow down until
he’s inside the main hall
of the hollowed out hill.

Absence of light is
soothing on his skin.
When his eyes yield
to it,

elaborate beings
emerge, hewn from
the cold, hard vomit
of volcanoes.

Wall after wall,
cave after cave, many
armed, many legged,
many headed desire

dances its heart out.
Liberated by the im-
measurable devotion
of anonymous hands.

He wishes he could
spend a few nights
on the island
under salty skies.

Surrounded by forests
thick with mango and
tamarind trees.

Stay up all night
talking to monkeys
about how n’ when
we lost the plot,

we hairless hunter-
gatherers of lifeless

Photo by Trudi Maree Waters on Unsplash

Kapil Kachru

Kapil Kachru is a writer based in Boston. His poems and stories have appeared in journals, magazines and an anthology in India, The Netherlands and the United States. His first collection of poems, 'Negligible Inertia', was published by Writers Workshop.