Cupids, even the grotesquely fat ones,
inevitably show off when photographed,
waving flowers and curls, lips puckered
in a daintier-than-stucco pout.
Angels, however, are a different matter.

Waiting through an eternity
of distant sculpted smiles, in torpor,
black or broken winged, ripped in turn
to bare shell wounds or the scourge,
they bear the mark of Cain.

There are those in hiding, darkly,
till the floodlight bursts in on them
from atop a crowded monument Š and
for an instant you see the beaten profile,
an eye irisless, where acid had lashed the face.

And those living among us incognito Š
the girl you asked for change
at the railway station, feeling
the brush of light in her fingers -
whom we are yet to discover.


Night and moonwash on a spire
aspire to the state of a fugue
and the image is the same
as that of you at the window:
your face against the skyÕs pane,
tempering the rainÕs filigree.

Now you and I touch that part
where the music is borne
by the pause between its notes:
the words stilled, so that even
saying nothing to you
leaves nothing unsaid.


Later that day, his assistant
was to remark: He wasnÕt careful when

he was walking in the street,

or when he rode his bicycle.

He was thinking of other things.

That, perhaps. Or the rain.
But maybe it was because
he thought death was a
crepuscular symphony, an electricity
the sky poured out in crystals,
that he did not see the horses
and their six-tonne load
as the tool of his end, even
in that instant when the wheels
shut out his light.

         © Avik Chanda 2004