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Sunnyside Road

by Timothy Liu

Six stone lions standing guard
over bushes heavy with summer
roses the size of newborn heads
as school lets out for good, me
in your bed, your head clogged
with phlegm, you having gotten
drunk three nights out of seven
every week while I was gone
so you wouldn’t have to feel
the trashed-out beauty of this
place we walked in early June
as I now retrace those steps
that led us to Sri Rathiga where
the waiter seats me right beside
where Krishna’s and his wife’s
ecstatic dance inlaid in wood
hung above our table filling up
with those soft green peppers
not to be found anywhere else
in Ilford, and it’s true, I think,
everything you said that night
when we became a we, all that
talk about how unreal we were—
a holiday from reality was how
you put it. Well now I’m back
for the lunch thali, the pale band
of skin around my right ring
finger almost indistinguishable
from the day I put its golden
weight on thirteen years ago
(my partner saying, you’ll have
to take it off yourself—I’ll never
remove it) as the waiter asks
if I’m on holiday, and I say, yes
here again, and if I do not say,
this is where I fell in love, this is
the place where I knew I’d be
changing my life!, all the while
thinking, won’t this waiter leave
me well enough alone? Once
I dined with my Beloved here
and now without—is there any
difference? The lassis are thin
as ever, the sauces too salty—
all the other tables empty now,
the music being piped into this
room something I have never
heard before—all of it mixed
with sudden bursts of applause.


Timothy Liu has two new books forthcoming, Bending the Mind Around the Dream's Blown Fuse (Talisman House) and Polytheogamy (Saturnalia Books). He lives in Manhattan. (5/2008)

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