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.
Urvashi Bahuguna’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Muse India, Kitaab, Flycatcher, Cadaverine, The Four Quarters Magazine and elsewhere. She currently lives in India.