By the four shops at Char Dukan,
the watching, waiting men are wreathed
in clouds of beedi smoke. At Anil’s stall,

steam from hot sweet tea
melds into shifting mist. Exhalations
rise indistinctly, waver and float

along the veiled passage
of the bridle path which, slowly, opens
to reveal a man leading

a snorting mule, both ghosted
in half-light. Wind gusts,
lifts grey lace from the hidden world.

Crowd and cloud
like smoke
and light