The Great Bloat

By Sarbani Mohapatra

Concrete rendition by Pritha Mahanti, Ptenopus.
The city is bursting at the seams,
Expanding like a rubber band;
One of these days it will implode
Its innards lying exposed
For all to see and smell.
The city is bloated;
A case of guts gone bad
Dyspeptic beyond repair
But the fresh paint
Over rusty street names
Refuse to bite the dust
And the city stutters on.
Swollen stomachs give birth to
Babies with swollen bellies,
Fostered by the mongrel
Before the bone-tired mother wakes up;
All to be swept away by 
The next monsoon swirl
Into the abyss of this unsleeping city...

A whiff of watered roses
Rubs off your ironed collars
Just long enough for you to forget
The saddest smile of a passer-by
Who looks not much unlike you.
You recede into its recesses
And see that it is not what it appears
You walk through this maze
You call home,
Tasting its joys on the tips of your tongue.
You wander through this mirage
And find yourself in its strangest alleys
A giant bubble that can only get bigger
You touch it and it vanishes…

Sarbani Mohapatra teaches on the Mentome, an e-learning platform. She has done her graduation in English from Presidency University, Kolkata and postgrad in the same subject from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. Her writings have appeared on The Hindu, Madras Courier, Visual Verse and Cafe Dissensus.

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