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Tokyo by Arun Paria

Pune, 2020

She shaves her underarms

else a cactus garden.

With a blue pint of Riband

he waters

the plants.

Mops the floor

with an 'I LOVE YOU' T-shirt.

Ironing, she notices

her panties have rips.

Notices her skin is pale

under nails,

with fungus,

while he burpees,


in front of the wall.

Let him fall,

let him fall,

the obstinate boy: she prays.

For his ears are

full of wax.

He takes out the ukulele

in the evening. Just like that.

Strokes and strums.

She sees a bunch

of babies floating

and a branch

of Chrysanthemum,

in the sky.

Is it safe

to go

to Tokyo? She asks.

Tokyo? He snorts.

At this time

it's not safe to go


I know, I know,

I am just curious

about Tokyo,

she says

before yawning.

In the night, in a dream,

a sweet gourd moon.

A dark car whooshes

by, a man in Irezumi-

tattoo screams

and he points a gun at her.

Going some place, sweetheart?

He barks.

I don't know. She smiles,


I am going to Tokyo. But,

my face is blistered,

my soul is red beet black.

My heart is trudging

along the indifferent

alley of love.

Where are you going? She asks.

The man laughs,


I am going with you.

A rainbow cat

above the stars –

suddenly a dragon dancing.

An ash-clad girl flaunts

a heart and wants a vicious man

in sobriety.


in his


Her body is trembling

against the hint

of a pagoda-full of love.

Where a soft stream has

ceased to be to an ocean,

at the brim,

under a bridge

of bamboo stems.

She is laughing:


here I come.


Arun Paria lives in Pune, India. His poems have been published in ‘The Bombay Literary Magazine’, ‘nether Quarterly’, ‘Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English 2021’, and the Sahitya Akademi’s ‘Indian Literature’.


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