homeward commuter

sandwiched between half-naked moon above my head
and half-drown sun at the fag end of the street
the day is slowly forced to forget the world for another night
inside me solid thoughts wait for words
as I walk in one of the galis,
veins of Bombay where commoners flow
where he knows me
I know him and his tea-shop -
an old table by wayside that carries
his entire establishment on its plane
and under it a warehouse of his daily needs

he throws crushed basil leaves, ginger and cardamom
into the saucepan of tea on the noisy kerosene stove
as the foam of reddish brown brew raises to the top
kills the flame and filters all the solid out

a cheering cup of tea of a few sips
the spicy sweet steam embalms my thoughts
and I’m ready to join the flowing crowd
to jostle my way into the crowded train
where there is no space for thoughts
except for finding some leg-space

S.K. Iyer