Every Thing for Me is Something Else

Rohan Chhetri

All night the wind howling, skittering off the windowpane, dragging its dirty fingernails. Autumn light shortening like a deer’s eye dimming inside the red cave of a python’s belly, the girth of its cold ribs cresting through the one giant neck & its peristalsis. The night windows in city apartments overlooking the flyovers, & that one silhouette, backlit by a dirty mustard glow, smoking with an elbow resting on a trembling sill. Outside the Public Library in New York, a man pushing an empty pram on the sidewalk, a woman behind him with a drowning face screaming at the back of his head. A little girl whose eyes I once looked at through the pale webbing between her fingers clawing mechanically on the glass window, beggaring at an intersection in Bombay. Rainwater awning over her eyelashes, her hair plastered on her skull, & lips trying to spell something inconsolable. When the traffic lights turned green, her smiling as I watched her through the rear window, until the next shoal of automobiles swallowed her whole. I’m still waiting in the house where my young parents have left me in a burning room. Outside, the winter breaking in a country they will soon be sent away from. The first snow gathering on the window sill, an overturned lantern, & a blue stream of paraffin hissing under my crib trying to claim it. My mother rushing in through the smoke and the cindering floorboards. Her screaming as she opens the window, & the cold wind howling in the voice of her firstborn, my stillborn brother.