This is part of a series of ekphrastic poems presented alongside ‘Hyphenated’ at The Substation. Jeet Thayil’s poems respond to the work of exhibiting artists Nikki Lam and Rhett D’Costa.
[for Mindy Gill]
Even now as you lie on your stomach,
reading of the mad king, desiring me, I want
to say all this happened a long time ago,
long ago this room, the call of kites
and crows, the food we share each morning,
unvarying and satisfying, I want to say
last night I dreamed my father refused
to die, he shuffled from room to room
forgetting why, so when you offer me your lips,
I want to say I love you even as I turn away,
even as I walk out of the house to the street
and a woman who bows to her phone, whose
bewilderment grows each time I speak.
city built of twigs,
old tape, colour
leached of colour, no
meaning but things
the mind receives
headwind, blown nest,
the small bird
broken like this line.