The Western Ghats: 1959

by Bernard Henrie
Tin Roof Alley Poets, formerly SplashHall Poetry
Second Place, August 2006
Judged by Tree Riesener and Peter Krok


Indolent dust drifts over the roofs and drains of my city.
Barber shops and a lip of rose water, soiled boxes
stacked with rendered fruit, faraway, the chug-chug
of a bus leaning forward like an animal hunting water.
Mumbai half shut down, alcoves falling into darkness.

One electric bulb coming on in a rooming house,
heat resting in hallways and squalid yellow rooms.
Your suitcase carried away beyond the dry hydrant.
A forgotten lipstick tube opened and never closed.
Our bed against the window, draped mosquito netting,
your discarded slippers gold as aquarium fish.

The language of your underpants cater-cornered
in a drawer, your forgotten bra hanging on a hook.
Your eyes looking over the androgynous city for rain,
monsoon held in abeyance beyond the Western Ghats.
Your red lips flung like coins into the face of a beggar.



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