There never has been a go at noblesse oblige
but bills of other kinds have been hounding
me with haste. Legitimate or illegitimate
a bromide allows us to believe, pain pinches
the wearer. I like clichés. They remind me
of childhood and the lessons I never learnt.
Like first love.
Thirty-six years later, you were in my siesta
geared in my garments, with freshness of flowers,
cuddling my now chubby cheeks which our
grandchildren ought to be playing with.
Your nectarine skin, nicer than all the cookies
we couldn’t nourish. The tanginess of your tone
reminiscent of the tamarind tree and my ruing
the raiments we never wore. Your cavernous
eyes holding the harmonies we never caught on.
Energized, I get back to the drill of daily existence
happy you chose a summer home in my dream.
* * *
As a barfly I learned early to humor the waitstaff.
The boy at this perky hangout has been pouring
my pegs with precision which forced my eyes
to skid on his frazzled neckwear. As pourboire
I offered to pay for one.
The next session, while inspecting his brand-new
accessory, our eyes intersected. I don’t know
if it was goodness of my heart or the quality
of doctrines I was digesting but I needed him
to own another.
He was wavering. I hurled the concept
of choice. When my voice-over fell flat
I asked, space issues? No, it is easy to store,
was his accismus. He didn’t know, I know,
baggage is not spatial.
* * *
This Summer and That Summer, (Bloomsbury) is Sanjeev Sethi’s third book of poems, and the poems shared above are from this collection. His work also includes Nine Summers Later and Suddenly For Someone. Sethi has, at various phases of his career, written for newspapers, magazines, and journals. He has produced radio and television programs. His poems have found a home in Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Ink Sweat & Tears, The London Magazine, The Fortnightly Review, Allegro Poetry Magazine, The Galway Review, Solstice Literary Magazine, and many other publications. He lives in Mumbai, India.