Poetry at Sangam



THE SALT-MAKERS by Janice Pariat

In Aveiro
the sea is never forgotten.

Here, in our hands, it hides
in cracks and crevice of skin.

Slowly, we harvest, solidly
as the years pass and wither,

this dust – send it with the wind
to shore, to settle on houses hung

with benevolent faces, watching
the waves. To seep through pavement

stone – a child’s hop-skipped game –
where ship, and anchor, and fish

lie in perpetual frozen turn. This,
we harvest, the earth’s sweat, or

Portugal’s tears – we pile it up,
cold, glistening range of white

tragedy. Like sailors, we are
always waiting, for tide to draw

its final breath, leaving fine,
crushed bone behind.

(Published in Nth Position and Tongues of the Ocean)