Plenteous Twenteous

The girls are making us an anniversary dinner. Remember
When we mashed bananas and pears for their
Toothless selves to eat? Fed them from purple
Hippo and green turtle plates with frog-bibs?
The years we careened about the countryside, hectic
And frazzled, impossible commutes, every day
A composition of carefully controlled chaos
Culminating in the culinary calm of dinner. And each
Year, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, siblings-in-law,
Nieces, nephews, parents, friends, and yes, kids, congregating
To eat, laugh, cut cakes, sit around, conferring, debating,
Dinner long past, till everyone left, lingering at the gate
The cars gently departing, leaving the lane to its late-night
State. Remember the Blue Frog – just us, a dinner date?
How many dinners make a score of years, anyway? Some
May say 365 into twenty’s plenty. Me, I smell the cooking, hear
The giggling, wait for you to be done with the gymming, take
Another look at the mehndi picture, and my dear, like
A good appetizer, this is just the beginning.


Portrait of a marriage at twenty-two

No smiling, were the instructions for the
Model. He tried to straighten his face. It took
A few tries and even so, the laugh lines will
Add a twinkle that won’t be easy enough to
Trace. Make sure there is enough light and some
Decent shadowing, we were told. So we went
Into the kitchen where the evening sun kindles
The homey concatenation of appliances and plants
Candles and bowls, things to use and things to
Hold, into scattered embers and points of shine.
‘Be careful what you place the subject against.’
The kitchen wall, canary yellow, carries well the
Slants and flow of light. So bright, the green-grey
Eyes that look straight into mine. The gold-brown
Dwindles, puts up a good-natured fight with the
Twenty-two years, the encroaching white. I know
My brush will never catch the warmth of the
Shadows, how they’re just another kind of
Glow. But this portrait is just beginning and I’m
Really more than willing to keep it simple and
Take it slow.


The bright night is a lovers’ gift
Impulsive, expansive, holding within it
An oceanic depth, a horizonless breadth
Vanishing even as it is passed from
One’s hand to the other’s. The giving
Is all. Its light has seeped into
Your hair and mine, a silvering.
As the dogs play and the children
Laugh, the path lays itself beneath
Our feet. In the windless skies there is
A delivering. In the running waters
The sparkle of promise is sweet.

How to Paint a Cloud: A Valentine’s Day’s Sonnet

Its harder than it looks; it isn’t just
White on blue. The underpainting lies
Beneath the dark as well as the light.
It really isn’t a matter of just
Slathering on the white. In fact,
By far the harder thing to do
Is coming away from the bright shades
With greys and burnt umbers and you
Must remember that the brush moves
Always from dark to light dark to light.
Love must be a lot like that, you think
Preparing your canvas just right. But really
Love is just one of the tiny, curvy vees
A bird winging itself into sight. 

Love Poem

Love is a new city
Walked through street by street
Love is holding hands
Love is aching feet
A new city is uncertain routes
Unhealthy foods, unempty
Seats. A new city is seeing
New things well after you’re
Totally trashed and beat.
Love is knowing home is in
Cities old and new when
The journey home is always
Far, and 19 years too few.

For GP

Remember that night or was it early morn;
Remember how late it was, fourteen years ago?

The North Star hidden, it was too near dawn;
How hard to recreate  it was, fourteen years ago?

Twenty ninth of April, nineteen ninety nine,
What a random date that was, fourteen years ago.

Not chosen by pundits, consecrated by wine,
Stars in love with fate it was, fourteen years ago.

My distant country, my alien name,
What an odd choice of mate I was, fourteen years ago.

You had no money, no job, no prospect of fame,
I saw only how fortunate I was, fourteen years ago.

I don’t feel very different but gawds how thin I was!
Was it youth or the salads I ate?  (it was fourteen years ago!)

Not our quiet church wedding – but colour without pause;
A celebration consummate it was, fourteen years ago.

There were no other homes here, no weddings took place
We never thought  how desolate it was, fourteen years ago.

We never thought of nations, nor religions nor race,
Only how appropriate it was, fourteen years ago.

For me, who argued every step, Who could never stop thinking things through,
What a declaration, an end to debate it was, fourteen years ago.

Now eternity shines in the girls, in afternoons, in words, in you;
Infinity through an open gate it was, fourteen years ago.

Winging It

We’re just two birds flying home
Now that the day is done. Not
Those people in the car, worried
About groceries and dinner; none
Of those at the traffic light, hurried
Across streets by horns and shouts;
Even those young ones, open-haired
In flashy shoes, happy to be out
Of classes, are not us. We don’t gaze
Out of train windows, stiff on shared
Seats; we’re not among the excited
Faces on various selfies and tweets.
No trophies await us for battles lost
And won. We’re just two birds
flying home, now that the day
Is done.

Just An Old Fashioned Love Song

Did he get you roses, my mother
In law asked. No, I said but
We had a clandestine lunch.
Romantic dinner? Enquired
Random family. Well, I said,
Maybe after the movie, the kids
Will want pizza. I don’t have
A gift for you, I said. He said
There was nothing he wanted.
18 years. A marriage come of age.
When talk around the table
Can take you back two decades
And each memory is sharp
Enough to cut through the years.
When every morning begun
Seals the vow of each day done
The roses are in the sun’s
Rise and set, and we know
That we are but young in love yet.

Little Love Song

When the day is done and everyone’s asleep
And the TV blips and bleats like a barn full of sheep,
Images flicker through my heart, where I keep
My little love song for you.

I check my mail, I chat with friends,
Try not to pretend too much or offend.
There’s one conversation that never ends  –
My little love song for you.

Not laundry, not dinner, not homework done,
Not bills, not leaky faucets, not scrambled eggs, none
Of what we talked about all day, silences the one
Thing with words that is true:
My little love song for you.

Love Poem 3

Everyone’s writing love poems
Love letters in the sand
Crossed out lines, rhymes
Underscored. Everyone’s writing
About loss and longing
Mines of lust, bodies unmoored.

Me, I think my love was written
Many lives ago. Poets wise
And wise men smitten have
Wandered this night before.

I look at you and the words that fill
My mind are tried and true.
Content to be their song until
We’re both unmade anew.