– Ranjani Murali –

I. Bombay

In each compartment, a swallowing
of throat, twitching of eye, clamor
of bangle, and plastic bags worn
translucent where fruits bruise.

Daylight loosed onto my tongue,
I speak a word, its first letter a nudge,
the last a sibilant grasping
of iron bars: news.

II. Madras

In rosemilk, a freezing. Six heads
of Saravana on a billboard,
his torso gleaming sandal,
his spear pointed at our eyes.

Green basement, paint peeling onto
my calves, I hoist a camera
onto a syllable, my spine
a tether: shoot.

III. Coimbatore

In angled sun, a respite from
damp skin. Yarned, a spinning
of a wheel. Cotton birthed in
pods of spilling seams.

A carcanet of sweat, the camera strap
strings rivulets along its weave, a slow
making of puddle, of words seamed
in a drop: still.

IV. Delhi

In histories, an asking. Red
brick documents, marble
squints in shadow, cleaves into
charring granite when muted.

An arm on chest, I fling
my lens into midriffs, every hair
on my forearm an armor
against grab: light.