Ghost Town Piety

Multi-coloured signs on shops

grudgingly hum in neon pitches.

The empty streets of ghost town

reluctantly wash the fog away

like a windscreen wiper,

sweeping foot by foot

as a spattering of stars walk the earth.

Under the rare street light

that bathes the bridge

the rickshaw puller sloppily

leans on his needle-injured hands

lifting a comatose finger, and a drugged eye

to tell the way towards a constellation.

A dog trots behind quickly drying up footsteps

sniffing his way through the ripe silence,

overflowing with late night drunkards

and early morning piety.

Faint smells of garbage rotting overnight

strike, just like the garbled brashness of

a lusty foursome: not pungent in fear or disgust

but pungent in skeletal remains of a city

that dies daily deaths.

As the buzzing streetlight performs a duet

with a far-off stick of a policeman on dead man’s watch,

the golden slivers that peek through the mist

reflect upon us, all our own constellations.



Shruti Rao