Poems by Meena Alexander


Question Time

June Air



Out of a pothole a child pokes her head.

Rocks prance under water,

Sunlight burns a hole in air

Fit for a house to fall through.

Palm trees dive into indigo.

Where is Kochi now?

Out on the deck men raise glasses of cognac,

Women in chiffon saris

Giggle at the atrocious accents of the poor

Trapped in the holds with their tiny cooking stoves

And hunks of burlap to sleep in.

Between sari hems and polished toes,

The child sees flying fish

Vomited by the sea--

Syllables lashed to their rainbow wings,

Tiny bodies twisting in heaps.

Sea salt clings to them.

The sea has no custom, no ceremony.

It makes a theater for poetry,

For a voice that splits into two, three:

Drunken migrations of the soul.

No compass to the sea. The sea is memory.

(Triquarterly Books / Northwestern University Press, 2013)






    Poetry Center Readings:

Spring 2014