Poetry at Sangam



UMBRELLA by Sumana Roy

Let me rinse
out the water
from the bones
of the earth.
They clog your
pregnant motion.

Look at the rain,
its elephantine gait,
its ivory mood.
Let me wait
for the rain
to stop its
parasitic fall
into your
umbrella’s armpits.

This is a vase
in which you harvest
my flesh and your broom.
My umbrella has no memory.
The odour of time,
as it bleaches bones
of hope, sticks
like water droplets
to its taut spoke-ends.
Like you, they are adamant.
They defy gravity.

The umbrella is a rind
you prepare to peel
every sunny day.
I say it’s an inverted
spittoon collecting the sky’s
sadist sweat. You disagree.
Inside the umbrella
we share the clouds
unequally. We hide
limp and loss,
and nurse love
as if it were bee-stings.
You spin it around –
I see the spokes
mesh into a
nasturtium of sin.
I want to withdraw,
but the colour-blind rain
pleats you and me
into a chocolate slab.
I wait to crack,
the fissure between us –
babble, breasts and teeth.

The umbrella’s a prison,
its loves a memory,
like milk teeth.
I am needy
in my longing
for amnesiac lungs
and knitted skin.

The umbrella closes
unto itself. All
turns middle.
Home. Wife. Crow.
You become
someone else’s
prayer again.
And then,
the umbrella
prepares its skin
to let you fall,
like paralysed strangers,
you and the rain.