Polaris

In the stillness of the stars, I count the knots in my braids;

Three or four tightly coiled ropes of black, twisting into a waterfall.

I am on the cusp of thirteen.

A group of thirteen teenagers playing tag, in the abandoned railway station,

The adults clutching their shawls and whispering over steaming cups of tea,

A fakir and his troupe of dancing monkeys,

An old haggard babe jee, dressed in robes of red,

A scandalous auntie lighting her cigar,

Orphan children chasing after pockets brimming with gold,

I sit quietly amongst all the hubbub.

Awaiting the next time I hear the sing-song choo-choo in the distance

The next time I clamber onto the green leather seats and awkward spaces,

The next time I rest my head in my mother’s lap,

The next time I see Shalimar Express scrawled in blood red,

My wayward self will have to wait,

Until the next journey home and away.

train

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