Friday, September 02, 2011

Poem: "Indian Verandah"

Indian Verandah

Sister, you live in a very private place

     Meena Alexander, “Red Parapet”


I will visit you in New Delhi
in March, when school is out.

I will see your strange house,
verandah closing it around,

more like an old Malay palace
in Singapore than any rented

apartment in New York. I will
ask Raymond when he’s home

about managing a country’s oil
market, but say little about life

with Guy. I will run with Liesel
and read to Hannah the books

that she is fast out-growing. I
will be driven by your driver

through the old city, which will
remind me of the four long days

I was stuck in Calcutta when
my plane had engine trouble.

I will think that an itinerary
is always also an interruption.

In the relative coolness of
morning, I will sit with you

on the verandah, sipping tea
poured by your housekeeper,

both of us brightly polite
to her, neither of us used

to being served in our house,
if not by our young mother,

the tea strong, hot and sweet,
loose leaves from Dunagiri,

the air alive with insect
chirping and whirring,

which I cannot identify
and neither can you,

but you recall mornings,
before the girls were up,

when you came out into
the light and felt it wet,

and I listening to you speak
will close the time difference.

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