He watches the rats ferret the rail tracks for orange peels
as he waits for the Mumbai Local from VT;
column of people surge as the train enters the station,
he vanishes in the mixed smell of perfume and sweat.
He has a lover
a girl many years older than him: a woman actually.
She cooks for him, washes his pants,
makes space in her shack under the flyover.
He know she schemes to take him to a place
where they’ll give him home and food,
send him to school.
He means to run away from the suburb and her. Till then
he gives her gifts: a cheap bottle of nail paint,
bangles the colour of rainbows
that make so much noise when they make love.
She asks him as she lies naked beside him
where did you get money for this.
He has to leave, time for Borvilli Local,
the last train for the day: it’s past midnight –
the station will fall silent soon, just a beggar here a dog there.
Sleepy passengers negligent about their bags
do not notice the slits the skilled hand makes on leather,
cheap rexin. Only once the knife catches the glint of light:
a diamond drop that a passenger squints away.