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Available Light

By C.P. Surendran

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Hadal

The waves white with what they witnessed
Below return, bowing and scraping
Along the shadows they throw
On shore; back,
Back to the silence thick as massed glass,
To first fish, time cutting teeth in the dark;
Ossified bones, hermaphrodite flesh, marine snow.

The cold is without thought. Things alive
Barely breathe. Your body sieves the sun
To the last. Here you are: in your element,
Feeding the sea out of your hand;
The memory-pumping heart is salt.

The sands rise from your pores,

There the shadows start.

Couple

At last she puts in a shy appearance
At the far end of the belt,
Having made sure the young,
Good-looking ones have left:
An old, bulging thing,
Last to leave a plane,
Waiting in places
From where people hurry to exit
For her ageing mate
Equally out of shape.

The pocket flaps are worn
To a thread.
The zippers are halfway down;
The mouth gapes
Like a sack undone.
One strap lags,
An arm that suffered a stroke.
The wheels drag.
Almost everything’s more
Than she can contain.
I watch my bag go past me thrice
Before I take grip of her by the belly,
And we resume life, man and wife.

Bridge

The needle threads through your eyes
I’ve sewn all that you’ve seen
Into a blindfold
From what the crows gave.
You wave it out of sight
From the other side of the grave.

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