Sudhanshu Chopra: “Combustion”



Where do I go without you? The shell
in which I hid before you arrived is now
compromised, and I feel naked as a wire.

I’m an old-school purchaser, always buying
two in place of one; a spare, an extra
for emergency.

But with you I was young & careless: never
thought of getting insurance, never imagined
slipping my number to another, or handing them
the duplicate of my back door’s key.

I understand persons are not objects; who then
are these people I see kneeling in cemeteries, talking
to stone? Where I reside, presidents inaugurate

aircrafts by cracking open coconuts at the landing
wheels, anointing moist vermilion with their thumbs
in vulcanised rubber grooves.


An ambulance—its siren bawling like a hungry
child—vanishes as soon as it appears. A grey
nightjar prepares to launch from an electric pole.

The traffic light: red; the zebra-coloured
pavement strewn with rat-gnawed foam
mattresses and homeless tykes asleep

in crisp November chill. Their still,
subdued bodies shrouded in papery blankets,
their surreptitious breaths detouring
no passing feet. Alongside, on the road,

engines hum, exhaust pipes vibrate.
Petrol continues to ignite.


Sudhanshu Chopra is a poet, wordsmith and pun-enthusiast. 30 and rootless, he is fascinated by nature and frustrated by its incomprehension. He wishes we had evolved better or not at all. It is the midway that causes Catch 22 situations, which are quite troubling, mentally and otherwise. He tweets at @artofdying_

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