That Evening in Goa

Many thanks to the editor of The Lake, John Murphy, for featuring my poem in the September Issue.

This poem is special for so many reasons and am delighted it has found a new home. It is the first in my “monologues with a minor god” series of poems. Was published first on this blog in January 2017.

That Evening in Goa

He said he was one of those minor gods,
no miracles, no judgement, no crown,
just here doing his job, though he never quite mentioned what.
Sitting on the sands of Candolim
eating curry and rice with our fingers,
the waves washing over my ill formed thoughts,
I asked him about souls and consciousness,
about karma and rebirth.
He seemed to think it was alright,
not to understand things like that, not to know,
his voice so gentle, light bubbles strung on a silken smile.
“Do you think about us, humans fending
for ourselves on this little rock?” That was either question or plea,
the wind wrapping it in a strange falsetto
that couldn’t have been my voice.
“Do you think about quarks,” he asked,
and I nodded, like I had that all figured,
a speck of dust, dithering in a beam of borrowed light,
all that mattered then was that one cloud
homing in from the lost distance.
“Fine, just tell me why I am here,
now, with you, trying truth out for size,
the rice gone cold, the beer flat as the limp horizon
without a sun to centre it.”
He turned to the water,
polite maybe, just hiding the laughter
that shook his shoulders.
“Or why I will still be here tomorrow
after you’re gone.
You will be gone, won’t you, being such and such god?”
He rose abruptly, brushing sand off his jeans,
his eyes were the colour of the night
that was still an hour away,
I’m not sure he replied then,
or maybe I just heard it later,
who knows what happens with the sea and the sky,
maybe I said it myself, afterwards.
“Where else would you rather be now?”
The gulls were singing as they flew
in formation, away from the curling surf,
their day at least was done.

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