Where I Live

By Arundhathi Subramaniam

(for Anders who wants to know)
I live on a wedge of land
reclaimed from a tired ocean
somewhere at the edge of the universe.

Greetings from this city
of L’Oreal sunsets
and diesel afternoons,
deciduous with concrete,
botoxed with vanity.

City of septic magenta hair-clips,
of garrulous sewers and tight-lipped taps,
of ’80s film tunes buzzing near the left temple,
of ranting TV soaps and monsoon melodramas.

City wracked by hope and bulimia.
City uncontained
by movie screen and epigram.
City condemned to unspool
in an eternal hysteria
of lurid nylon dream.

City where you can drop off
a swollen local
and never be noticed.
City where you’re a part
of every imli-soaked bhelpuri.

City of the Mahalaxmi beggar
peering up through
a gorse-bush of splayed limbs.

City of dark alleys,
city of mistrust,
city of forsaken tube-lit rooms.

City that coats the lungs
stiffens the spine
chills the gut
with memory

City suspended between
flesh
and mortar
and foam leather
and delirium

where it is perfectly historical
to be looking out
on a sooty handkerchief of ocean,
searching for God.

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