River

As we pass the blue and ochre striped house
I remember the restaurant we ate in once
on the highway outside Guwahati on our way to Tezpur
on an afternoon when it should have been raining
but it was hot hot hot
and you got on edge when the sweat ran into your eyes
so we ordered only rotis and daal but they took a long time coming,
in that blue and ochre restaurant where the rotis were cut up
into quarters and the daal had too much chilly
and when you bit into a bright green piece, sudden tears
joined the sweat running down the side of your browned face,
you didn’t bother to dry them,
the dusty, speed-crazed wind would do that as we drove on
not speaking until we had reached the river,
the immense immense river
with its endless bridge and lights of boats
on water and the plain breeze tossing them about
finally unknitted your brow.

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