by Sheikha A.

Seemed as if the garrulous sun
dribbled through the late evening’s
taut sheet of humid air, we sat on
mats, two hours into a power outage,
the heat clung luridly onto the walls
but obligingly laid off of the mosaic.

The way the night thickened
in indolence, so did the blethering
outside on the pavements habituated
by self-appointed valets, parking
help or self-installed vendors
that browed the sweat all day for fill
of laboured spirits they had been useful
in earning a few Rupees to take home.

At a distance, crows cooed
in utter exasperation, breathless
from the stifling summer’s grip
around their scrawny, parched throats,
hanging limply from TV and Internet
cables, thrown pole to pole, over
streetlights as dead of light
as a reaper’s lantern.

Gunshots ripped through the air,
startling the crows to resuscitation,
chattering abruptly stopping,
and us, halting the plastic fans
in our hands, blinking against a UPS’s
faint light, wondering if the rich boys
were at play again;

hearing the dead
night swallow the shots, with none
other sound to follow, the peddlers
wrapped up business and dispersed,
while my posh block in the acclaimed
city of lights waited out the death-
like blackness, orphaned of perspective.

Copyright 2023 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.