Street Nights

Ishani Shambhobi Ghosh

The street lays out
its yellow-dash spine
burning below
the halogen’s basilisk-eyes.
“I’d rather watch the moon
than count motorbikes to sleep,”
she mumbles, “it has more stories to tell.”
Raindrops sizzle on the sidewalks
in a sudden flash of drizzle –
A windscreen wipe swings
like the scythe of Kronos.
Two cheating lovers
in the front seat
list all the things gone wrong
in the last couple of weeks,
and a steady rush of wheels
in the backdrop whisper
nothing’s ever worth the wait.
Roadside shutters blush red and green
with the blinking signal’s glow.
Light-poles tower above the rain,
indifferent, black wires sagging
over a creeper on a broken wall,
waiting like a taut feline back for a
sparkle, firework, blackout.
Animals haunt the shadows
and pools of golden light,
chasing bikers down alleyways
that once belonged to the White Wolf.
“Rooftops are curious places,”
says the cat in the night time.
“Sometimes, they are animal limbo –
or time machines for me
to jump over nine more lives.”
In the hour after midnight,
you’re an empty bottle
chucked out of the car window,
lonely lorries kicking around
your butt-end, headlights gleaming
with the glee of children
playing street-football –
but never quite managing
to crush you flat.

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