Bringing Home the Catch

he brought them back home,
the flaming sun in an orange basket,
a blanket of cloud over its head;
tracing the edge of the Vembanad,
the withering day broken
into twelve gasping fish
that flapped against his bony legs,
to the rhythm of the yellow waves;
a black arrow
was leading the way,
his net still caught on the left wing
of the slowest cormorant;
in shimmering sheets,
the wind paused to watch,
silent, afraid the
saffron dusk would shatter.

soon smells and sounds
would rush about,
would blacken the fish,
turn on the stars;
swallow the lake,
and scatter the birds;
leaving them like macabre stains
upon the ghoulish trees;
rocking to the last hum
of his plaintive love song,
the indifferent night
sketching the outline,
with a moon-tipped pen,
of tomorrowโ€™s form
taking a ragged breath
under the sleeping water.


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