Poetry at Sangam




What they do best is divide the constricted world.
There: war, traffic fumes, lanes full of hungry bitches.
Here: bedrooms, soup boiling, 3 a.m. dreams.
In the mornings the house is awash with them –
yellow – more colour than cloth, less tangible than light.

The curtains are an act of selfishness.
They turn the house neat, guiltless, middle class;
they correspond to our talk about the family, what to cook.
The colour conspires in this – safe, domestic yellow,
cheaply cheerful plastic smiley yellow.

But I don’t want to leave it at that –
they are cassia yellow, sunny honey, lemon melon,
clichéd Van Gogh yellow. When it rains at dawn,
you open the window so that the milk-light filtering through
them is under our eyelids when we go back to sleep.

I look at them often, thinking
love must do this, must love do this, love must do…
As a child, yellow was my metaphor for happiness
and here we are now with our fantastically yellow curtains,
and now I have the image and I have that
to which it corresponds.