New Delhi Love Songs

By Michael Creighton

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New Delhi Love Song

Smog and dust mix with the air in New Delhi.
I buy jasmine for her hair in New Delhi.

People come from everywhere to this city;
all are welcomed with a stare in New Delhi.

The finest things in life don’t come without danger—
eat the street food, if you dare, in New Delhi.

We push in line and fight all day for each rupee.
Who can say what’s really fair in New Delhi?

There is nothing you can’t find in our markets—
socks and dreams sell by the pair in New Delhi.

So many families on the street through the winter;
sometimes good men forget to care in New Delhi.

Friends ask, Michael, why’d you leave your own country?
I found jasmine for her here, in New Delhi.

In the Early Days of the BRT

I’ll never forget that 522
we waved down on Khel Gaon,
just as it started to pour.

Seeing me in my soaked shirt
and you in your bright red dress,
blue scarf, wet sneakers—

the only woman on that bus—
the conductor gave us his seat,
and several men smiled

and stared through
the crooks of their arms.
But by Ring Road,

all eyes had turned outward:
in that September rain,
Delhi’s lights shimmered

like your long glass earrings,
and a film of oil rose
to the top of the tarmac,

leaving the road
a pigeon-neck green.
At the Moolchand flyover,

the driver turned up the volume
and an old song blared
through the radio’s tinny speakers:

Today the weather is faithless,
there’s a typhoon on the way

then the bus lane cleared,

and we all sped south watching
the stream of cars
barely moving below us.

Stones

Is it the bed of jumbled rocks below,
the green and blue of the trees
and sky above,
or the shape of the space
between these hills
that’s turned last week’s snow
into the river that runs before us now?
Choose your stones carefully,
my son. We are changing
the face of something great.

Hail One Down

There’s always
room for one more
in the southbound
shared taxi. We’ve
just got ten seats,
but the two in the back
are large enough
to hold four.
Eighteen is as good
a number
as any other,
and everyone’s
got a lap, no?

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