On the train between Jaipur and Benares,
(in the days before I knew you...)
speeding through the Indian night--
the air heavy with bidhi smoke.
Travelling alone because I could.
And what was left to hold me?
Seated in a charpoy, second class,
my eye was captured by the sindoor
on a memsahib; it burned vermillion
beneath her chaddar. A life proscribed,
fine. Sure of her port of entry.
And me? Drowning in nickel valium,
Protected by the Rajdhani Express.
I dreamt of wandering the Champs Elysee,
not knowing who you’d be when I
found you waiting beside L’Etoile.
Now that we know, would you
have it some other way? Would you
still board the train for Mumbai
with me and say, yes... this is splendid
as we settle into sleeper class for
a journey into the heart of night?