In a riverless city, the promise of water is enough.
My mother and I pin our hopes
to each monsoon, and evenings in June
that stroll the circumference
of our bayou-to-be.
Starved of fish, the empty lake
harbours cattle, gangs of dogs
and cricket games —
we see snatches of batsmen through the fence
too far to catch anything
On our walks, the lack of water
loosens my lips: I ask how long,
and who’s that, and what’s this cluster in the fence?
My mother answers: maybe two more years
and Mr. Kumar, his daughter was in your class
and stops to examine the clump of web and air —
almost a star, A spider’s nest, she says, a nebula
of hidden eggs at the bend in the path.
In the chinks of chain links, a home has grown.
Months later, they remain unchanged:
the lakebed, the spider’s nest,
and my mother:
but for an inch of rain, but for new dust
but for a haircut, and another half-trip
around the sun. ■
Words by Devi Sastry. Art by Tate Tsang.