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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_author-photoUrvashi 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.