The salt and moisture slap my face
eyes glued, swallowing whole every detail:
colors, scents, the sea old and new
Hindi gurgles low in my throat
bouncing up and down,
awaiting a grand entrance.
Our car glides through the deep morning hours
onto a bridge–it’s new.
I turn to my partner, a hot tear spills out
And I wonder…what this feels like for him.
I envision pouring my heart, memories, childhood into him,
so he can feel this.
My insides are my outsides today—on this road—in my mother’s hometown,
where I can still smell the fish fry and kabobs from the street vendors
now, ghosts that line Chowpatty beach
where the breeze dances through a little girl’s pink dress,
and she fantasized under the hot sun, believing
My body breathes for the first time,
even though I’m more West than East–
This road, this humidity, this food, this language:
it’s more me than anything will ever be.
It is more me than the house I bought,
than the clothes I wear, than the suitcases that line the trunk of this car,
than the husband who rides next to me.
For thirty minutes between airport and hotel, I am home.
No responsibility to defend my Western ways,
No responsibility to prove my Eastern ways.
As the architecture of my favorite city careens by,
I am home in this car,
next to my partner,
the beach waves on either side.