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Meena Alexander
POETICS
 
House of the Red Canoe

Finally an address -- 2205 San Marco
And a  door inches from a canal where gondolas

Strut  through green waters and opera singers put out to seed
Stand and moan O sole mio and other such things

And a woman with white hair, flesh shielded by a sari
Sways beside a singer in his bulging shirt.

I stand on the sidewalk next to a red canoe,
Its propped against the dry wall,  upended by fate.

The world has drifts and gristle sticking to stones
And rusty rivets stuck into underwater trees.

Njangal ivida! she cries in Malayalam,
My mother tongue, ancient language of the Dravidian coast.

Back against the wall I watch the ghost trees of Venice
Pick up their roots and approach me.>/p?

 


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