Jeet Thayil
A History of Religion


Annie chops her notebook
into unequal pieces. I sneak a look

at the words that appear
on her page, ‘I’m alone here.’

You are
alone, and distant as a star

without a name. Alone myself,
lost in a hieroglyph,

I measure the rain that blurs
our house,

the infinite, the enormous rain,
unstoppable in its broken

run to the sea.
But I keep my ears peeled,
and my eyes, Annie,

for red flash, or squeal
of rubber,
for any sign of Time’s arrival

in our border
or a man, a pious body robber

whose eyes sink like the sun
in your sweet, dangerous, open

If I watch for the tide to rise

and break,
we’ll be fine. If I stay awake.