When you walked into that coffee shop, with its rustic strength:
the beige tables, the blotchy wooden benches, unadorned
and homely, you brought with you the allure of a Japanese
Maple: both a wild, orange liveliness, and a lacy stream of
thought, and yes, the side-swept medium length hair, the
rare hazel eyes, the blue dress, and the tattoo, curving down
the side of your neck but stopping in the middle of your
forearm, not overdone, made me call you again,
what transpired was a relationship
of strained passion, and cold reasoning,
you were so attached to the culture you left, and
I moved because I wanted no part of it, we called each
other hypocrites, but want kept us alive, you said that
I turned against everything that made me, and I hated
your blind faith in the imposters ruling home, we gave
up, you left, and it relieved me, I travelled for a
few years after that, finding joy in nature:
a simple Flag of Bavaria sky, hillsides painted in purple,
green, and fading red with a winsome flourish, parks
where you heard the sweet aubade of love birds
complementing the slow rise of the sun, and I knew I had
happiness that would sustain me until I met someone
who wasn’t you, but coming back to my apartment that
cold night, after a few beers, elated, made me want
to watch the news at home, to scoff at the inane
political debates, but when I saw the face of a young journalist
who was killed because she stood up against
intolerance and the strain of fascism, all
sense of beauty left me, the worn chintz curtain,
the threadbare couch, the motes of dust suspended
in the dim light of the bulb threatened to engulf me,
my thoughts were a swirling mass of chaos trapped
in a paperweight of dying restraint: I wished I had never called
you back, I wished that the silence between my words
didn’t say more than it should have, I wished I had
never let you go, but my thoughts have taken shape now
and my bloodshot eyes reflect the gun pointed at my
head that urges me to throw lead.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

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