Dawn comes, casts a light, disappears in overcast. On your hand I count the seconds it reveals itself. We climbed for this: brittle limestone and bright-green caper leaves gave way at last, and with your chanting friends with sour breaths careening off in front of us, this shelf, by the cliff, might do for a rock-strewn couch - ahead, the space below seems far too vast. We sit as stars and squid-boats yield an equal yellow pallor: they might have breached the strung-up sky to give us a much livelier time, but Venus and the others hang in protest on the horoscope. We see the slow cerulean swat them out and cause such clamour, mix with colour, fire, hatred, dissent — yet you know; you’ve watched (this botching of a colony), and not too moved by wartime song, you prefer to watch a cool leaf blown across a pond. Then a soft breeze presses down and makes its staysail stammer. I love you, I might say, as plectrum crickets serenade. But then there’d be a thought of what I might want or of what you might want, when a brief rest might heal us both, like a tack to turn the wind, gently made for us to breathe, softly made for the mast beneath, but here it comes, the dawn, at the door of a ripened skyline vault; and I move to hold your hand, to count the light and see its breach — (five, six, seven, eight…).
Sunrise in the Andes
in the style of Pablo Neruda
I never wrote a word for you, and my morning is due. I watch it brimming behind the dusty landslides. A crepuscular moment encodes blue dunes. Here the moon wheels around but barely anything else moves. A spurt of dust where the lizard resumes, The black cross of a condor. I have so little to add to the world, which comforts me. She is on my mind when the silence admits me to my old chambers. When the angry doorkeeper is soothed, I walk inside to see myself. A marble arcade where I kissed her was nothing to me until now, when it is everything, like a key. Dark woman; heavy eyes, heavy hair of mud-like sand. Your eyes filled me like a scared fitful wind. Before you lay offerings and flambeaus, filigrees of gold, floors filled with diamonds. You went to pick flowers alone in June, already the condors flew. Dark woman; heavy eyes, heavy pearls that watch the tide. I never wrote a word for you, and my morning is due.
we would have undone it. if you had said what was on your mind, when it was on your mind if you didn’t let time execute its crusade if you had stopped relying on your poems to tell it if you had become your poems if you could, turn back into spring, not a complete bed of carnations, but maybe somewhat greener than last week. we would have tried to stop the burning, we would have made you whole again it would have been fine if you had told us that you were forgetting how to tell when the day has ended and begun how to tell between the moon and the sun we would have taught you, however long it took into Notting Hill Carnival, into October’s whispered evenings, into Boxing Day if you would have said the words, or word, or just let your eyes converse, it would have been enough we would have melted you, from a lethargic sunset, into a bursting sunrise. we would have melted you, from a lethargic sunset, into a bursting sunrise. if you would have said the words, or word, or just let your eyes converse, it would have been enough into Boxing Day, into October’s whispered evenings, into Notting Hill Carnival we would have taught you, however long it took how to tell between the moon and the sun how to tell when the day has ended and begun if you had told us that you were forgetting it would have been fine we would have tried to stop the burning, we would have made you whole again not a complete bed of carnations, but maybe somewhat greener than last week. turn back into spring, if you could, if you had become your poems if you had stopped relying on your poems to tell it if you didn’t let time execute its crusade if you had said what was on your mind, when it was on your mind we would have undone it.
man of the House
They demand that we grow up faster in half the time it takes for his voice to break, they give us fairy liquid for fun, tell us to take utensils as toys, but they shall roam the streets till late for boys will be boys, but girls, girls must be women. Girls must run after them but never after themselves, girls should aim for the sky but he can aim out of this world. They call him and his overgrown, thorny beard and his belches, belly reaching for the stars and his weeks that all stretch into one tiresome sunday they call this thing a man of the House but really, we run the show and often, truth be told women run things better alone.
To Know My Mother
she dips Parle-G, the national biscuit in tea, two at a time, her special, double buildings, held delicately between her fingers a sandwich of cheap things butter with orangish tomatoes, curling at the edges in the heat, seeds battered violet like exit wounds in gulmohar petals made lovingly for the journey, tiffin wrapped early dawn in the kitchen no mottled lights for her eyes aware in the mauve. the stench from the toilet seat rises like mercury every time someone opens the door to relieve themselves, the metal mug clanks against the metal floor with its chain. The biscuit sinks in the hot silk tea, the rail’s sweet churning, tracks turn along the road of almond trees bent lovingly by the cyclone, see, she points outside the window, so many of these were once in my backyard.