Poetry at Sangam




Hidden from a queue to bag shoes a woman nurses a child
under a wool scarf in the shadow two fluted minarets cast
pitched towards incessant sun, a necessity somehow an insult
to sharia law, no matter what sustenance a lemonwedge
of breast, God’s own, yields, puckering a tiny mouth
until bright eyes glaze to doll loll. Fairly alien to ponder
raw biology of milk conveyed by ducts lined with capillaries,
made from pouring stuff of stars: nourishment that manifests
minerals for bone from pulsing light.
         Too close to the slickheat pushing out
between the legs of nearly every woman not your wife
but her as well? How could it be that her very being derives
solely from her relation to you, that she could have no value
in the calculus but to function as temptation, or its dome-
blue corollary, disappointment? No cover covers up
those integers holding the place of zeroes, Iznik tiles or after-
life virgins. Ostrich eggs on chandeliers don’t dissuade spiders.
If the fear of the Lord is not the beginning of our wisdom,
then La ilah ha il Allah is a breast in a mouth, else nothing is.