September 10, 2001
How much harder it is to speak
when I have spent the whole day silent.
I would like to stop someone,
leave my room in the evening
and stop someone, a man without hope,
or a woman bent double, as if she were
searching the sidewalk for gems
caught in the cracks, and I would tell her
that each of us walks with the same
impossible burden, knowing
that only the stars will last —
she will listen to me, hear what I say
and go on her way, bent over as before,
never looking up at the approaching sky.
Jeet Thayil, from English