They were ‘in love’ no longer,

things were horribly strained;

she had taken up with another man,

a good-for-nothing painter,

a painter so destitute,

he couldn’t afford a single brush,

let alone paints and easels.

He made imaginary paintings,

his hair unkempt and disheveled,

and a threadbare tote hanging over his shoulders.


But he made her feel something ­–

in a cold, unfeeling world,

he made her feel something;

in an unforgiving, barren world,

he made her feel something.

He was good-for-something.


Mr. Bajaj also spoke admiringly of him,

as if he were grateful

for having his spouse taken away.


Far from calling it quits,

they had neutralized the alliance –

dutiful parents,

they remained shackled for their children –

she dressed them for school,

he hurried them to school,

he picked them up from school,

she put them to sleep.


                                                                                         ~ Swati Moheet Agrawal

                                                                                                  Mumbai, India


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