If you stand on a balcony

by Akhil Katyal

If you stand on a balcony
and raise your hand towards the sky,
you will end up mimicking
Michelangelo's Adam,
and there will only be an old God
giving his hand in your hand
expecting, in return, a faith that Adam-like,
falters once but never again;
sheepishly buying you into a camaraderie.

Or if you lower your hand
and point it downwards,
you will only see a desperate Romeo
now looking unabashed
and ready to ascend, expecting
at the top of his climb, some poetry
a waiting Juliet and wine.
You would have to pretend
that your wait is over.

The hand is not meant
to access the divine
or to endlessly replay one romance;
not to go up or down at all.
You could offer it, not with devotion
as if to the elevated, or with pity
as if to the downtrodden, to the one
standing face to face on another balcony,
lest he be searching for the sun.