Poetry at Sangam



THIRST by Sharanya Manivannan

All day I have looked for you as
the heat rises from the asphalt

        and the wilting laburnum

garlands the city like
a bride or a corpse.

            Now and then,
  I pretend I can escape
the labyrinth of your many lies.

            But the route is made of smoke and
sophistry. Bottle-blue mirages quench my need,
     summon the salt-sweet of your skin.

            Bone-drunk, I am drawn back to
the waterless landscape of your neglect,

            spellbound, I take them –

            a sequence of sun-scorched
footsteps into precarious stepwells,

the blaze     in my throat as painful
as a desire to sing.