Back to Issue Twenty-One.

first morning in roslin



The rooster, the bicycle bell, the seagull
tapping loam to lure out worms—even the sea;
none of these unexpected. But then,

offstage, a drunken trombone slurring
wayward melody, a Schubert melody: an engine
pulling his tin-thatch wares around a gorge.

A cow, maybe, lowing up slopes of plush and thistle,
dung, dome, dew. And her bell: a flattened
soup-can, halved and set loose by a Demiurge, around

two clanging pebbles and a rusted key. This light
makes flesh of things; mired in skin the eye
only traces the ripening-outward to soundfell where air

pleats like muslin; air, like music, sound trans-
ubstantiated, lashing in, out of being, brimming
once more my grandfather, his hand in mine

a sparrow. And a street in Madras ends in a row of huts,
and a woman selling peanuts sings, breaks your heart;
and at the periphery the mackled crescent

of sunthrush sea throbbing as behind throat.
Enclosed by nothing, attached to nothing,
all-entwined, like rain, it’s that sea murmuring

beneath chirp, beneath chime, beneath silversilt-origami-
light so freely given, folding, unfolding, in his palm,
on mine, the dirt, a word ever on the verge, the sea.

Varun Ravindran was born in India and lives in Pittsburgh. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from FolioPleiades, and Notre Dame Review.

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