Poetry at Sangam



I remember by Erik Lindner

Translated by Francis R. Jones

The sea shattered and all your hands could do
was keep scooping like mechanical diggers
each shovelful you tipped slid back to your feet
no matter who mentioned a house a chimney a table
your nails just kept on scraping a flat floor in the sand.

I remember the ground shaking and how you stood there waving
all those tattooed birds squawking on your arms
the lower the thunderclouds loomed the fiercer the waves
you schlepped handfuls of wet sand across the wide beach
your elbows’ wipers plastering the wall.

Once the wind drops I know your birds will be quiet
your lugged-along starfish will softly fall off the wall
and I know how pale your legs stretching wide
I see the pieces of shell sticking up between your toes
all you can hide is your body in the sand.