Small lanes curving, taking
a wave of coconut trees ahead
into the river, cutting off
just before the bridge, where streams
splay paddyfields into many
fishponds for the kingfishers

Meanwhile the cashew cart urges ahead, smelling
of fermented time, the shirt
and loose pants of the farmer
painted by muck and a last monsoon
holds a few coins and soiled notes
for fish and urak to be bought later

Wet air carries the fragrance of the creek
dried fish and sausages
and the stench of soiled woodwork
of foreign ships
from the 15th century
scarring the sand with a cross



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