I once chased my brother
Down to the edge of the sea.
We ran past sheets and towels
Spread like sky on the beach,
Between strips of cloth,
Drying chilli and tamarind.
Past slums shackled to the shore –
A maze of thatch roofs and cowdung
Caked walls. And then I lost him,
Searched loudly for him, called his name.
Said, Come out or else –
All the usual tricks.
A woman cleaning rice on her knees
In a blouse done up with safety pins
Pointed to a hut with a single weary finger –
Where he was hiding with a water buffalo.
The low blue lights of the television flickering.
He was inside, laughing so hard,
Shaking his head back and forth,
I thought the joy would come tearing out from him.
Afterwards, we sat in something like silence –
His rare chubby hand in mine,
Listening to the breath of living water.