second shade

while gathering
all the things
that happened
in the sacred space-time
of an auto rickshaw
I think in dimensions
of memory.

I gauge the limits
of gauging.

I age my first memory -

a white roofed rickshaw
with three kids
all less than three
a girl on the right
a boy on the left
me in the middle -

there is a chill
of tampering
with memory
but also a warmth
of being okay with it-

we are hot-colding
to the playschool
on the fringes
of the main bazaar.

the edges are dream
the sides are movie
my feet too small
to measure footspace
my body too slow
to keep up pace
with the limitless
world outside.

but inside we’re safe -
the driver-uncle tufts
of hair swirling out his ears
reassures us of the world
in malayalam - a language
which will still churn
into a placental presence.

in a sea of autos we’d spot
the one with the white tarp
as ours - the sun would
springboard off it onto waves
of metal-sheet roofs & blocks
of unlimed concrete houses -
not ours as long as we are
in shade under a roof
moving to a second shade -

this is where I invest thought
in recollection memorizing
what I just remembered -
regret glowing while gathering
all the mothball moods
in the sanctuary of closeted air.