Poetry at Sangam



SESTINA by A. Anupama

The morning begs salt,
and the road sets a table
of trees setting to branch
the forest’s shadow on snow.
Inch slowly forward into the pleasant,
where you’re unaccustomed to go.

And when you go
don’t forget that your bones are salt.
A smile in your skull quite pleasant,
as if to say that the myriad tables
turning on you echo the snow,
flaking into six-armed branches.

The sulphur of branches
when they burn, and I go.
The ache of white smoke, like snow
in reverse, marbles the salt
while you set the table,
meaning that at least dinner will be pleasant.

Staring was pleasant
when the vase was filled with branches
and no one disturbed the table
with Easter lilies saying go.
I poured salt,
and my heart snowed.

If the week before equinox gives snow,
let’s go to the mountains, spend the pleasant
and endure the salt
of altitude’s branches.
The winged and furred, they go
so as to keep still on this spinning table.

Your onion is a vegetable
and we have poured our hearts’ now
into the frittata of ago.
How did the dish come out so pleasant?
If I adumbrate the branches,
my skin comes out basalt.

Snow’s fall covers the branches
and, like salt, its covering is pleasant if it happens to go
into one’s lips while you slide the shaker back to the middle of the table.