Another poem for the Monsoon

From today's Poetry Daily - by Ravi Shankar, from his book Instrumentality:

Return to Mumbai

Bombay no longer, the island
Circumscribed by water exhausts
Herself in rain. For six months,

Her suitors, Vasai, Ulhas, Thane,
Spar, each swelling, vigorously
Surging, empurpling against

The horizon's taut washboard.
She, placid, stares breathless,
Smiles the smile of a schoolgirl

Whose step-father has just left
For London and decidedly opens
To each. Already, her soil soaks.

Already she sings in preparation,
Rust-colored flames smoldering
Compost, plastic tarps flapping,

Held down by planks, stones,
Discarded tires; dirt roads gravid
With rickshaws, vegetable wallahs

Whipping bullocks, Tata trucks
Distended with diesel, yellow
And black taxis like so many drones

Evacuating the hive, bicycles,
Ambassadors, Maruti Suzikis,
Creaking double decker buses

Emblazoned with the latest
Bollywood star, women in fraying
Saris, barefoot men collecting

Alms, children praying, their shape
More rail than real. From an island
Mother, rising water fathers

This mitotic bharathanatyam,
An embryonic dance held
Until the obstetrician's arrival.


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