Just when I think the world lacks humanity
as hopelessness drains the spirit from my heart,
and poverty seems so endless and the solutions futile,
the shopowner who sits "Indian-style"
upon the counter of his business
below my apartment building
greets me with his usual
"Good morning Mama!"
as he nicknames me with a lovably hilarious mispronunciation of "Emma,"
the security guard in uniform outside the rich hotel
smiles and waves,
never seeming to tire of seeing me pass him every single day,
the dogs on Chowringhee yield,
barking at everyone but me,
the soccer player again invites me to play
with their pick-up team on the Maidan,
and I return from my run along Grant Street,
only to pass my beloved water boy carrying out his duties.
We recognize each other in strange elation and I fold my hands toward him in respect
and I grin naturally, to my surprise,
as I realize that despite its crimes and horrors,
Kolkata is my home.