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Under the Railway Bridge at Kayamkulam by Sambhu R

Updated: Mar 30, 2021

Artwork: Night Shadows by Edward Hopper

There is a bus stop

under the railway bridge

which I pass often

on my ramble through town.

The motorcyclists wait

on either side of the road

away from the whimsical trajectory

of paan, pee, and shit

whenever a train

trundles over the bridge,

a blue millipede

on shiny iron wheels.

Since last month, a bearded man

is domiciled within its stone pillars

with the plaster carved by three

generations of fingernails

into nebulous shapes

that obey subconscious mandates.

Most often he has a book

in his hand and gabbles on

in a sibilant language of his own.

When he is not haranguing the air,

he lies down on the stone slab,

head surrounded by mineral water bottles

that give off a faint glow

like disheartened candles.

Imagine the irony of a man

eating, sitting, and sleeping

in a place where people come

to catch a bus in search

of multitudinous destinations.

When the world is in transit,

he remains motionless.

I look up at the relentlessness

of the train wheels that run

over themselves and try

to picture this man in their dead centre.

*Kayamkulam is a small town in the district of Alappuzha in Kerala where the poet hails from.

Sambhu Ramachandran is a bilingual poet from Kerala. He is Assistant Professor of English at N.S.S. College, Pandalam and is also a doctoral candidate. He has published an anthology of poems in Malayalam titled Vavval Manushyanum Komaliyum. His poems in English have appeared in Borderless Journal, Madras Courier, etc. You can find him on Facebook here.


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