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A line. Thrown onto the sheet.

Haughty curves. Flung carelessly about.

A last circle. Placed on the corner.

An afterthought.

The pencil flies. Black marks

long and steely, or stubby, impatient smudges

quenching the rough art white,

a sketch is born.

 

A face. Figure. The noise. A speeding car.

His sketches can depict anything.

Standing on the sidewalk

along the busiest street in Delhi,

he sketches what he sees

but the lines are drawn from

a deep silent well within

his chest.

 

People watch his sketches. Walk away

with one they like. He cares nothing.

I watch his face, his hands, his eyes

restless, far away, watching

other worlds.

His hands – charmed strokes of a magician.

His face – monsoon sky, changing complexions

every few seconds.

The artist is a black moon – unholy.

Irreverent. Arresting. A thing of wonder.

When he goes home I don’t know.

Where he goes to, I cannot say.

Why he comes to this street, I often wonder.

 

One day as I pass the artist’s corner,

I see a charcoal figure running alongside.

Fiery eyes, hair like black clouds.

“Stop,” he shouts, sketched arms flailing,

“Take me with you – I want to escape the city.”

 

The artist was hauled away by a traffic cop.

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