Poetry at Sangam



FEAR MANAGEMENT by Tishani Doshi

Say it is dawn on the beach
and you are without the dogs.
Up ahead, a row of fishermen.
Legs like pins, tomb-sized chests,
leaning back on their heels to haul.
Say they are making noises at you.
A sideways kind of sound designed
to entice a small, brainless creature
into a corner before smashing it
underfoot. And above their noise,
the rattle of boats thudding across water,
bee-eaters, the despair of an early
morning dream, where you relinquished
your life as if it were of no consequence.
All you can see is the sun, orange and whole,
rising like a guillotine into the sky. Beneath,
an ocean’s regurgitations—
                                          orphaned slippers,
             Styrofoam, fossil of crab,
and the fishermen dragging their nets
against the lip of all this
with their ceaseless, cooing threats.
When so much can be vanished
so silently into the dark teeth of sleep,
tell me, wouldn’t you fear for your life?
What it is. What it might become.