Enjoy Being Human

Sreekanth Bhaskaran

Powerless

Power cut was an hour of scheduled darkness
They said we were developing and hence
there wasn’t enough power for everyone.
So we shared; we shared light, we shared darkness.

Power cut had a neat schedule.
6:30 pm on one week, 7:30 the next
Like a wave advancing gradually
and ebbing to start all over again.

It fell upon us daily with a bang. Because
no one bothered to read the schedule and often
the schedule meant nothing. In hot lazy afternoons,
there was so much more to worry about.

Lights went out and candles were lit.
Rich neighbors brought out their emergency lamps.
Whirring ceiling fans came to a slow halt.
We closed our school books and took a break.

For once, we realized it was night. And listened
to the crickets, watched the pale moon through
the cotton curtains and prayed, prayed fervently
for this break to last forever, at least a little longer.

We did not want any power.

Dead Ant

You avoid my eyes,
Shake the snow off your head, wipe your feet hard on the mat and bring in the chill.
I search what remains.

For what else is left
this evening, tomorrow and day after; as winter turns to spring; and still–
You avoid my eyes.

Dinner is quiet.
Store-bought, so no one cooks for the other; none to thank, none will blame or yell–
I search what remains.

For what’s left behind.
Joint pains, no joint accounts, just joint breathing in of apartment air– dank, stale.
You avoid my eyes.

The old bed looks vast.
Our preferred sides didn’t change over the years; we moved farther to the sides until
I search what remains.

Shared room, shared past–
Stuck together in an undesired space like that dead ant on the window sill.
You avoid my eyes,
I search what remains.

About Sreekanth Bhaskaran

Contributor headshot, Sreekanth Bhaskaran

Sreekanth Bhaskaran was born in Kerala, India in 1975. He did not speak much until about the age of four and has not stopped speaking since then. During occasional relapses, he writes poems. His job in technology brought him to the United States in 2001. Many of his poems deal with immigrant experience and displacement. He runs a poetry workshop group out of Minneapolis Central Library called the Poetry Constellation. He lives in Woodbury, MN with his wife and two children.


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