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The children left a planet behind

The children left a planet behind

The family name left behind, nailed

Out on the door, as if

They weren’t going to need it any more.

And a ceiling marked with residual trouble.

Double-sided tape where the stars were wrenched off, but

They left a planet behind:

one saturnine globe in neon,

a threadbare ring, glowing sharp

at lights-out time.

And the outline of where a stained-glass angel clutched a harp.

A framed friend-photo—sunlight, a swing—

all teeth stood out, bare, and the light came in filtered lime.

No toy clues; not even a broken wing

Or scruffy paw or chewed up arm. Just one candle

Stub, an inch on the window-sill. And one

Lonely planet.

Annie Zaidi is a Mumbai-based writer whose forthcoming book, Known Turf, is about her experiences as a reporter.

Write to lounge@livemint.com

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