Poetry | ‘Meet me on the Roof’ & 1 more poem by Agam Balooni | LGBTQ+ (Vol I) – Issue 35

Meet Me on the Roof

When all was over in the night
I went to him. He took my wrist
and led me to the roof, turning once
to look back at me—I turn to iron dust
lining the path of an unsteady pole

The sky was in shock from Bombay lights
Leaning on the balustrade, now we looked
for darkness, now we tended wet roads
from the confidence of twenty floors
Meeting his eyes again

split me from my flesh:
around that wound my ego has hardened
When I had left him at his door
I began shaking all over
uncontrollably, addict in sudden withdrawal

Ducks from America

They alight in majesty from the wind
One foot upon the cement shock and flutter
Old or tired—fold their wings at last
pass black turds behind cement stares ahead

How they bend their tall necks all the way
around bury their orange beaks in their backs—
graceful except their feathers are somewhat dirty
of course their travels have been long

How far can I bend my neck? Not far
You don’t look good doing it anyway
Perhaps quack like them—yes the voice
in bending breaks later than the neck

Three of them are brown look—why
are they fighting—ha! ha!
digging their black beaks into one another
instead of bending burying graceful back

At what age do they come out of that country?
Fifteen, but also as young as eleven
but surely by eighteen
and only rarely in their twenties

And what age will they leave here?
Out by twenty at the earliest
but mostly twenty-five
though thirty really is more accurate

And sometimes they linger
For years sometimes
But they are always in danger
Eaten both here and there

Agam is published in HarperCollins’s 2020 The World That Belongs to Us: An Anthology of Queer Poetry from South Asia. He was nominated for a TFA Award in 2018. He grew up in Dehradun. 

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