The Empire Of Lights

Ranjit Hoskote

This house has not moved a brick since midnight.
Outside the front door, the streetlamp has brushed
the cobblestones with a moss of delay: the night
glows in a yawn between darkness and day.

The street flows on, soaking the canal
with brittle afterimages of rain.
The bats that have chased butterflies of meaning
up the crescendos of trees all night

are drowsing in their green and icy silhouettes.
It is night here still, it will always be night:
this street is wound up tight to strike
at 3 am and hiss a breath of doubt

into waxy clouds that are talking softly
about the ninja maestro who bled the clock dry.
They remember the day he parted the curtains
and broke the windows with his flame-coloured hands.

They are whispering about the jacarandas
that he drowned in the sky beneath the house
that has not moved a brick since midnight,
and how well cotton burns at noon.

Last updated August 31, 2015