Child imprisoned

Beneath the
Ballooning branches
Of a dripping Margo tree,
Stands he—
The seller of the plastic-covered
Vegetables, on a rude and gasping
Handcart, near the pavement dirty.

The thin ten year old vendor, empty eyes,
Wearing a hand-me-down,
A size too big for his skinny frame,
Stands in the heavy rain.

There is no traffic as such,
Along the wet road,
The sober boy looks around,
Bored stiff.

He splashes in the thick puddles
And then freely prances around.

Seen from a top window,
Dancing the way kids
Dance in the rains everywhere.

He gallops, throws pebbles in the
Puddles, drenched to his bare bones.

A female customer
Appears and inspects
The veggies.

The kid, immediately underground,
Instead, emerges the responsible
Quiet adult, because
It is now — business time.

Sunil Sharma, a senior academic and author-freelance journalist from the suburban Mumbai, India. He has published 20 books so far, some solo and joint. He edits Setu: Read other articles by Sunil, or visit Sunil's website.