The question comes
from the kindergarten teacher—
are there classrooms in India?
granny smith apples
The third world is stamped all over my face .my accent. my hair.
my sweat. my tonsils. my earwax .
No. no classrooms. no air conditioning. no corndogs. no aspirins.
In India, we ride pythons like unicorns.
In India, we eat thorns and datura seeds.
In India, we decapitate clock towers.
In India, we grunt, hiss, snarl, yelp and snort.
The lady is pleased.
I get to flush down the dead goldfish
by way of reward.
The shirt on the man’s back is
soiled and black
I bet he is a war veteran
I bet he still fights under turnpikes
not over communism,
not against children wielding machine guns
in terraced jungles
but over the ownership of meals,
the real estate of rodents and excrement
The vagabonds are shrouded in sunset
Their faces droop like groins
Is there anything more punctual than hunger?
The sky is colorless; it receives the darkness
like the whore her customer
This isn’t the romance of the R.L.Stevenson
poem of river dipped bread and jolly heavens
This isn’t such forever life
though I imagine how for some
it could drag on forever