Sidewalk Café by Madhu Kailas
I wait for you
while the sun seeps out of tea bags
in backdrop of overnight porcelain
retrieved from cold memories.
On cobblestones, patterned iron dazzles white.
They sit with prim backs
like austere monks
in deep contemplation of laced tablecloths
switched out of yesterday’s stains.
I wait for myself as much
to arrive as a mendicant at your soul.
Tilt a hat, or pull an overcoat
tighter across my chest, shuffling.
I take a seat next to the flower box –
an impressionist painting
against a bright cerulean wall,
now coming alive with faint, virgin shadows.
Above, ivory windows
lead me into centuries of famished love.
So, here we are
with empty laps and vacant looks,
accompanied by chairs in attendance.
Warmed by waft of fresh croissant
and troll of autumn leaves
doodling in empty streets
and etching clear glass walls
rising between us and ceased music.
Winter approaches grey and chilled.
Conference of black umbrellas in a cemetery –
in a somber conversation with the dead.
Listen hard to the interstices of the cobblestones:
It is not one-sided.
I reach for my coat pocket
to rummage for hope.
Madhu Kailas is the pen name of Kingshuk Basu. He is a native of Kolkata, India and has lived, worked and studied in various places in India and USA. He enjoys poetry, and writes regularly. He is the author of ‘The Birds Fly in Silence and Other Poems’, a collection of 57 poems published by Writers Workshop Kolkata. He has been published in journals like Indian Literature, Dragon Poet Review, The Literary Review, New Mexico Review.
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