Poetry at Sangam



QUESTION TIME by Meena Alexander

I remember the scarred spine
Of mountains the moon slips through,

Fox fire in a stump, bushes red with blisters,
Her question, a woman in a sweatshirt,

Hand raised in a crowded room —
What use is poetry?

Above us, lights flickered,
Something wrong with the wiring.

I turned and saw the moon whirl in water,
The Rockies struck with a mauve light,

Sea creatures cut into sky foliage.
In the shadow of a shrub once you and I

Brushed lips and thighs,
Dreamt of a past that frees its prisoners.

Standing apart I looked at her and said –
We have poetry

So we do not die of history.
I had no idea what I meant.