Marrow (Nariman Point, Bombay)
by Urvashi Bahuguna
At the jetty facing salt loosely wrap
a dupatta forget we can be watched.
We don’t speak the same
language at home, can I teach you
the word for peanuts staining newspaper
cones? Repeat after me: the moong-fa-li,
the moong-fa-li word.
We rinse our hands before we
eat. What you hear in the lanes
is a lie wrapped in a betel leaf
for idle conversation. The two-line
poems my father learns by heart are
ones he wished he had written himself.
Can I teach you the word for blending?
Do you think I am joking? Yes, this is the age
when people in my family get married.
Do they know you draw the marrow
out of chicken bones? Or that work
lets out at 5:30? Repeat after me:
There is no word for disappearing
on a train leading out of this city.