The day we fell in love, the world stood still for the first time.
No movement other than the midsummer air humming electric,
the warmth of our words rising up into dense clouds
and gray atmospheres of sticky potential.
I remember thinking, as our dewy skin melted into the grass,
how strange it was that the world kept turning constantly.
Cars speeding on hazy interstates, babies being born in porcelain bathtubs.
Screen doors slamming in distant houses, ivy crawling across
the windowpanes of writers who will never see their name sprawled
across musky paper spines. Houses torched, brakes cut, hair trimmed.
Somewhere, an arthritic old man sets his newspaper down. It is raining.
He dances, flood water cascading around his ankles. He only thinks of her.
City lights paint taxi exhaust bright green. It is nighttime in the city
and teenagers drive recklessly through underground tunnels,
hands raised through the sunroof of their father’s cars
as the yellow light bleeds into their corneas.
Everything is set in motion, the day’s suffocating inertia of color,
a spinning top cacophony of mindless rebirth.
It is different today. You kiss me softly, velvet-lipped and eager,
and the world stops turning. The streets of Mumbai are silent.
There are no babies screeching in the quiet rooms
of church services, no hearts in the midst of being shattered.
The old man stops dancing.
His eyes are closed, her face still sketched on the backs of his eyelids.
The sky sees nothing but us.