Ramanujam Parthasarathy (23 May 1956 / Chennai, India)
At Vuda Park
The stick slipped,
He was about to fall,
But his crony crutch supported him
With her fragile frame.
Stumbling, they sat on a bench in a corner,
And I was reabsorbed in my Herman Hesse.
Of course, I am a bird-watcher,
But old birds are not my game.
They came soon enough,
With laughter beyond all reason,
With a charm that could transform a dreary desert -
The natural inhabitants of Vuda Park.
And the waiting eyes began their roving routine.
As the sun slithered further down,
And the scene was shifting to the beach,
I got up as though mesmerized.
But the spell broke:
An unintended glance at the corner scene
Held me back on to the bench.
His shaky hand shuffled towards
Her pale and frail palm
And crawled clumsily into it
The small sunken eyes that leered at her
Gleamed with passion against the crimsoning sky.
But now the woman caught my eye.
The obedient hand flexed, faltered,
And paltered with the shaky hand,
But when the clammy eyes lifted,
I fancy I saw neither fondness nor pity
But accumulated contempt.
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