10:24 pm. The dogs of Malviya Nagar are awake, ripping each other's hoo-has out. The neighbor twins must have forgotten to feed them milk today. Usually they don't start up until 12.
I am here alone listening to their rabid survival music. They have souls too. Hearing them splayed night by night, I know that much.
There is life inside these dogs -- as with the parakeets stabbed by box cutters in their cages by the fat boys across the way and the wild kittens in the slums bludgeoned by water balloons. Sounds of treacherous living.
But there must be undying love in them too to keep on like that. Each morning before sunrise they muster it up, limp and beg all day for wet rice until sunset when the devils overtake them again. One day the animal in them up and dies, their fates resurrected in litters.
In this room I am inside the sounds they make, inside the feeling inside me now. I don’t sleep. My stomach is a pit of acid – tea and Indian gooseberries. But tomorrow morning I find my laughter and so long as the sun is up and I walk out into the world to earn my bread and talk to the office ladies and imagine the deaths of my brothers and sisters in the newspaper reports as real as my own, my shadow-conscience will spar the woman of my mind. For now: “You can do nothing to satisfy the need to hold her. She will be in her bed soon, 17 million miles away, so go lay in yours, the indent of her thigh and hip there beside you, her sleep and soap and sweat still fragrant, ha ha ha, and hey rubbing that will only plunge her into the ground, until the marble cracks, and there she is, a canyon: her smell in your brain wide and deep as your desire to taste her now."
The dogs have no quit in them. Some howl, naturally. Some rip each other to shreds. The pups heave on the roofs of cars lined on the street. They’re not blind yet. Their fur, their noses, still intact. Soon, they'll be subbed in too. The watchman sleeps. There is no respite for me, holding my stomach hole. I am a man and they are dogs but I stay up with them while you’re gone and know our growls come from the same source.