Shanker Hotel, New Delhi, 1991

By | 1 November 2019

It’s not always the same man knocking
coaxing with kind English or high-pitch
testing the lock with a shoulder, a knife
the knock turns into bang
to Hindi outrage with thrust
the door becomes compromised
shifts towards their effort.
I have the company of four stained walls
Shiva is hanging lopsided
the bed, the floor, the heat say:
this is your room service.
I search for the branch from the Jamun tree
use my shaver to sharpen its tip
stand still as my heart sobs, screams
I am thankful for the bars across the window
I am thankful for no balcony
I beg the door to hold its stance
as I stand, I am statue of myth or legend
holding the branch like the upward sword
held by Maroula of Lemnos
who won the attack
despite the army of men
barging through doors
to rape her island.

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