beneath the way to the exchange,
i watch him light a cigarette.
his head hung like an office shirt,
making sums with pavement patterns.
his thoughts fall soft as ashes, spirals –
i see him glaze into clichés.
is he a man from kerala
who eats at night with taxi drivers?
i paint his eyes dim and tired,
drooping over dirham chai.
i wonder what he dreams about:
laundry, porn and petrol prices,
some things, perhaps, about his wife.
is he the man from kerala?
belly straining at his shirt.
a pot of unfulfilled desires.
one forgotten, balding hero
from the row of filmy posters hung
at eldorado cinema.
Photograph by Vamika Sinha