A poem for Rourkela


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Pic from net

At Dusk, I Drink A Town

 

Time is a Bougainvillea sneaking over the roof
of a silent house where a lost child comes to sleep
fed on drops from a leaky steel pipe
that keeps count now that the clocks are still

Over the Koel, an enormous moon waits with its cat-paw
to etch on quiet waters, once the skinny-dipping memories
of scattered children have gone to roost in their adult imprints

A flame flickers in matchbox homes, the divine takes over
while the night makes love
Little hands calligraph growing pains onto lined sheets
Rickshaw pullers thrust down in long, slow strokes
getting themselves to waiting wives and bottles
Milkmen holler at roaming buffaloes to come home
and I respond instinctively though my window is blinded
and the cacophony of growing up has ripped my eardrums

I see a river grow green oars in a night of ripe mulberries,
Japanese dolls nodding and moss erupting over water tanks
The soft brown earth slips through my jamun-hued fingers
Bangled hands and clangs of rolling ingots play a jugalbandi
Enough! My dawn too will wear a sheen of iron
like the gold-streaked blast furnaces
and a black Kalahari summer sucking the Koel’s breast dry

I shake the bough of pink blossoms nearest to me
The town condenses into a large, wet rain drop
and lands on my parched tongue
ยฉReena Prasad

This poem won the 2nd prize at the World Union Of Poets WUP Poetry Competition 2016.

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