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Prabhakar Subramaniam

Cooum

Near the cinema

Stripping women

Of their souls

The river quietly breathes

Stoic like a saint

Though dying of the city's sins

On the bridge the harlot

Too weary to walk the streets

Stands staring at the waters

Mourning the river

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Sibling

As I step out

Of the shop

Three carry bags

In either hand

I cannot but

Think of you

Three years elder

Now light years away...

Our shopping done

You used to say in jest then

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Dead flowers

Bees hum around

The dead roses

Being strung

Into garlands,

The flower-seller

Has kept aside

Two of the best blossoms for me,

She knows what I prefer -

Something not fully awake

Something between bud and flower

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Sky-clad

Behind the high wall

Near the bus-stop

Still stands the tree

Carrying a crow's nest

On its crest,

Though now a bare sculpture

The leaves all gone

The bark coming off

From branches and torso

Giving it a leucoderma look,

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Parade

As windows look out on windows here
They have to be kept closed often
Even if the sun and zephyr cannot enter,
When I'm tired of the walls
The television, the kitchen and the humdrum
I throw them open,
Catching eyes or movement,
On the other side
Now hurriedly shutting me out,
It's difficult to make friends -
No tenant stays for long
Next door or at the opposite window,
Perhaps driven to the suburbs
By the rent
Or opting for a city
With fewer desires -
I've seen a slow parade of faces
Like the infertile clouds
In the sky
Before they pass out of sight

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Makeover

My distant kin

Suddenly warmed to me

Discovered nice things

In me, my family

The book-worm became a book-lover

Likely to win a Booker

(Do they have one for readers?)

Called me smart, affable and gregarious

When I used to be uncouth, grumpy and reclusive

After 40 years praised my crooked smile

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