The Last Light
He’d had enough of the kitchen table carping,
of the kids coming home from fights all bruised up,
of the telegrams for money from poor cousins,
of the stereotypically ailing mother.
There is nothing to pack. He’ll just pass through
the stairwell always stinking of coriander
and fried vegetables and head out onto the road.
He’ll pass the dosa restaurant where he worked many years
and imagine the white batter flecked on his beard
as he scraped the hot grill, pass the shopfront
temple where Krishna the flutist consorts
with Radha in the window, pass the stall where an
old man sells paan — betel leaf and areca nut laced with tobacco,
and the stand where earlier they wrested fresh
sugarcane juice from plump stalks in the pulsing summer heat.
No one would have recognized him when he crosses
the road where the Jersey City shopfronts give way
to nondescript row houses and empty parking lots.
He’ll walk toward routes 1&9, his body flaking away —
fractals of gold dust rising to merge with the evening sun
on a street where no one will notice or remember.
And when they frantically look for him, they will not find
a body or clothes or money or pictures,
just this empty street reddening in the last light.
Vikram Masson writes at the intersection of faith, identity and culture. His work has been featured or are forthcoming in Gone Lawn, The American Journal of Poetry, Glass, Juked, Prometheus Dreaming, Lost Balloon, Rust + Moth and Without a Doubt: poems illuminating faith (NYQ Books).