Goa, Circa 2013 

Strolling in the drizzle one becomes green like the hills
Clotting besides the river, between you and them a bridge
Last catch of fish dissected at the creek, prawns –
Your favourite
Cooking somewhere in the breeze

Roofed red tiles, curving street, scent of sausages
Drying ignored and becoming potent like an education
A radio clicks, fuzz of signals punctuate the harbour
A ferry roams in its waves and reaches you pregnant

While I sip insipid tea from a patrao’s cart
The season brews over the river, coming with it
An ancient scent of stacked cashews

St. Basillica

one crosses the church slowly in traffic
building a symphony of sounds in humid weather
cut by the song of a children’s choir

one settles at the creek’s port waiting
for the ferry to arrive and empty itself
refilled by a mixed flock of migrants and locals

a bell stuns the background, you turn
a sea eagle
circles above as the bell travels
echoing the time

Evening Snacks at the Hill Overlooking Your Favourite Scenery

cream cracker heavy
with paprika, herbs and cheese
bursts in your mouth
what a gorgeous evening it is

terns dive in the estuary
wearing the scent of fresh fish
hills dense with orchids and cashews
we order for an extra dish

filled with the essence of the scape
it arrives in mixed portions, eschewing
delicacies and favourites, instead
bringing pieces of meadows and memories
of years lived in isolation, away
from the brackish gems of this home
a dish filled with something we can both share

we divide it into equal parts
call separately for wine and sautéed beef
at sunset breaking it into halves
flinging it over the ancient cliff
in the humid air they dissolve into birds
gliding gracefully to the beach
following the wind as their prophet
settling at the ocean’s mouth
silently discussing the future

Baradesh

those shoulders cut by neat collars
forehead cancelled by wavy hair
breeze gently urging the dead ceiling fan
a fragrance of moist dust
in a room built in 1856,
‘Goa’,
as the men
with white skin and jackets address it
the land of paddy and wild boar hunts
roasted pepper, sound of rain
erased by the gush of tides baptising
us as children during our first swim
a trail of coconut trees at the end of the creek
black dolphins, black pomfret
blackbirds and black panthers
suddenly re-written with potatoes
and red chilli, a book with castes and creeds
another one with rules
of something called a religion
I hear the echo of the migrant cuckoo
announcing the start of a storm
the sky overcasts slanting roofs
in them sanctioned only certain people
with new surnames
outside, the lanes, trampled
by my ancestors, waiting
for a boat to flee

Agashi

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
enough
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

17.1.17