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Figures in a windswept language

BY SNEHAL VADHER
As if what I wanted to say most
would be lost in the saying
all the lines running slightly aslant
clouds and white horses grazing
wherever you look the gaze lifted
by the wind a rippling in the barley
and in the hot curtain of the atmosphere
the last hunger before it settles
on two sparrows on an earthen pot
or pine cones on a bed of pine needles
fallen as if someone had put them there
for your viewing but that is just how
pine cones fall I want to write but
the school is inside a thick fog
and the children must shout across the valley
that may have grown between them
and it is hard to read because already
the title of the grade 5 English textbook
is burning in a sooty fire lit
in the offset printing and I don’t
have a pencil and I don’t know
the spelling so I go on erasing until
the page begins to tear like a cloud
through pale pastel blue sky and the fog
inside the classroom keeps growing
and a child speaks the alphabet through tears