The world can feel when a house is sad.
The mailman delivers less junk mail,
kids make less noise.
Fewer telemarketers call. The house
puffs out slow, sad smokestacks
through its chimney and the cable company shows
only those programs
that may make the house feel lighter.
The gas bill is lowered.
Even the clocks runs slower
to give it more time adjust.
A silence like a hazy light surrounds it.
Drivers passing by reduce their speed,
do not honk. In such a house,
spring is often delayed,
the grass grows slower,
the flowers don't blossom as quickly
and the pets usually stay indoors.
When we cook, the whole neighborhood dines out
for three nights. Every weekend, we take our children
to the temple to relieve them of the sin
of eating cow meat in their school canteen. We teach
them how to be polite with everyone but never to hang around
with Blacks and Latinos. We often take detours
through rich neighborhoods
showing them the mansions and constantly talk about
the virtues of becoming a doctor. When we make love
on the floor, we make no sound
and when we fight, walls of our house cow backward,
giving us more space.
My Geography Teacher
Framed atlas maps adorn her bedroom walls
where we conquer each other's veiled peaks
and uncover unknown valleys from beneath
their cloaks of haze. At seventeen, I am a novice explorer.
She is my guide. She knows her way
through the snaky alleys
of the precipitous hills. Together we trek
over the Sahara desert on our private camel
and soar over the Amazon forest in our personal balloon.
We hear nations calling beyond the border of nations.
We set out on an unsure voyage to discover
beyond the sea swelling with copulating whales.
In the darkness of the majestic vessel,
I am a fire boy
throwing pails of coal into the glowing furnace.
On the upper deck,
above the boiler room,
she beams in her captain-suit
holding a brass colored wheel,
steering through the night smudged
by the white brush-stroke of the aspiring waves.
Glassy ocean-birds flap their crystal wings,
circling above our uncertain ship.
©2007 by Sankar Roy
Sankar Roy is a poet, translator, and multimedia artist living near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a winner of PEN USA Emerging Voices, and the author of two chapbooks of poetry from Pudding House. He is an editor of an international poetry anthology, Only the Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami (Rupa Publication, India and Bayeux Arts, Canada).