‘Standing Up’ by Amlanjyoti Goswami

Standing Up

Head bowed, his ears perked.
Eagle-nosed-spectacled, the teacher asks a common class:
Was it really the sun that came in through the window?
Or was it the sun’s rays?

The class sniggers.

The sun, he finally lied, defiant
About the slanted truth.
His failure, reported, circled in red.
The long trudge home.

And did you have to drink hot tea
In the sweltering heat- surely there are better ways?

The class is now in splits. Even friends.

He had never tasted tea to know the difference,
But saw others do it, around him,
Guests who came home in the evening,
Whose laughter echoed long after they were gone,
In the silence of the night room, vacant,
But for the moon that fell in a glance
On the bare floor of his heart.

As if the weather never mattered.

Amlanjyoti Goswami’s poems have been published in India, Nepal, Hong Kong, the UK, USA, South Africa, Kenya and Germany, including the anthologies, 40 under 40: An Anthology of Post Globalisation Poetry (Poetrywala) and A Change of Climate (Manchester Metropolitan University, Environmental Justice Foundation and the University of Edinburgh). He grew up in Guwahati, Assam and lives in Delhi.