Poetry at Sangam




All through the day it stays: the sadness of coming
   into a wet city at dawn, not speaking, neither of us,
when one by one the neon lights wake us from a cramped,
   dream-ravaged sleep, driving home in one long curving sweep
on traffic-less roads with their morning walkers and damp dogs;
   still thinking of that other place worked on by the sun,
the casuarina trees and shouts of people on the beach, frayed and
   muffled by the heaving of the sea. We climb wet stairs where
no one’s been for days, thinking it ought to be the case that one
   returns with screws, a piece of string, some word or turn
of phrase, something to fit somewhere, that click or slide or
   resolution that has been wanting. Instead a winter monsoon
blurs the world; we wash our hair, shake out sand from folded clothes,
   sleep for a while in the still early morning while vendors shout
the names of flowers, sleep so that our bones at least achieve that
   calm alliance with our breathing and take us where we
want to go: a place like water when it lifts us in a magnet wave
   to set us down again, and we’re unencumbered, weightless, brave;
our questions turn to images of strangers waving across fields,
   pointlessly, insistently, across fields, through falling rain.