“Where are you living?” he calls
after opening with a cheerful namaste.
“None of your business,” I return
and walk away chagrined:
his innocent greeting soured
by unwanted agenda.
The shade of the grey oak
provides solace; the earth supports
my solitary, unsettled bones.
Questing for answers
that are not ready to be seen,
I am tired of walking with my hackles up
through interactions of ulterior motives
due to my fair, foreign skin.
Moments later, many voices sing
as the bus careens around the mountain’s edge.
Windows rolled down,
palms wave, brightly flashing in the sun.
The girls within sing their glee
to those pockets of people sat on the slopes below.
Joy reflects joy, we wave back,
laughing strangers connected.
-McLeodGanj, Himachal Pradesh