Near Nihal’s

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A full ten years later, I walk familiar space,
Near the Anniwatte tunnel the roundabout
Is mis-aligned and is woe. Footprints dig and collect water
And it splatters like mud, of having walked this way
For all them years before.

Then, Nihal’s was not there — but just mis-shapen
Concrete, with pillars in between, next to a firewood seller’s.
Cows used to sit mooing with each other idly wooing,
Checking their eyes for a spark.
That’s where Nihal opened customers’ car park.

My friend has got engaged and
Another has married. Near Nihal’s
This guy presents me pretty shyly a coyly:
“Meet ma wife!” and I’m like, yeah, sure:
“Married last May”. He used to think me gay.

My beard isn’t shaved and I wear a “Che Gue” cap.
I buy two weeklies. Drop them on the counter.
Cashier passes ’em through doesn’t give me a bag:
Guys looking like me stand no chance to mount her.
Kusum is her name. She frowns at me, like, hard.

I’m woman-watching tonight, frills turn two rounds,
Jiggy asses hurrying holding what they’re marrying.
Pastel shades and orange and shimmering blue.
An important “Do you have skinless?”, snubbing of nose,
To a servy “Sir, what can I get for you?”.

Where did the wood-seller move to, when Nihal
Put up this “Super”? Did the cows follow him?
Or did they march off west?
Kusum, in spite of all, is a uniformed beauty
And she deserves it: so I smile her my second rate best.



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