Twenty-One Days Later

By Sanket Mhatre

At the airport 

The ban has been lifted

Doors open. The first travellers are ushered 

The click of check-ins. 

Trolleys scramble, without any distance.  


I am waiting for you.

There’s one voice. Then another. Followed by many. Till there’s cacophony. 

Sign: The world has returned to normal. 


Counters fly open. Smiles flutter. Scarves swing into action. 

Luggage belts start with a thud. Leather rubs against leather. 

Gucci against Desi* against plastic without the fear of isolating. 


I am waiting for you. 

Food stalls open. There are complimentary desserts for the first travellers.


Air is sprayed with lavender fresheners. I think of you. Lavender is closer to mauve. Mauve is you. 

Outside, a plane takes off.   

I think of your eyes. What will your eyes think of this? 

Would they search and find me? Would I have to find them?   

Another thought surfaces: where are we flying? Where? 

I am still waiting for you.  

I have kept my face unshaven. Messy hair.  

I have removed the extra grey. Just because it’s grey. 

The world has passed through enough grey. No more grey now. 


You arrive at a distance. And stop. 

 Our eyes don’t have to search for too long. We placed ourselves well within our sight. 

 Your bags drop. A corner of your lip quivers with truth and remembrance. 

 You are wearing mauve. 

  I greet you as several planes take off in the distance. 

 “Where to?” I ask.

 “To each other,” You say. 

  Twenty One Days dissolve in an embrace. 

  And countless poems. 


Here, I am still waiting for you.  

It’s Day One. 

At the airport.


*Desi — of Indian origin

Sanket Mhatre is a well-known bilingual poet writing in English & Marathi. He has curated Crossover Poems. Apart from this, Sanket Mhatre has been invited to read at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, Poets Translating Poets, Goa Arts & Literature Festival, Jaipur Literature Festival and Vagdevi Litfest. 



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