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Sinking Into The Solstice

Sujata Bhatt

December fourth or fifth,

sinking into the solstice,

I’m finally beginning to enjoy

the darkness, even the Bremen blackness.

damp and rotting. and conquered

by crows whose late afternoon cries

are not hollow but fermenting with persistent ghosts.

Oh they are huge mosquitoes as they clamour,

swarming over the Burgerpark.

When I hear them I think of everything at once:

stale chapatis tossed out to whoever can get them;

pomegranates, Demeter, pine cones,

graveyards, Shakespeare, ten inches of snow,

foghorns, lighthouses, Ted Hughes,

not to mention Edgar Allan Poe and Bombay …


It was December fourth or fifth,

about six thirty in the morning

when I sit up thinking someone

is shining a searchlight on us

or could it be a new street lamp

just put up yesterday just outside our window?

No, no, it’s only the moon

I end up staring at, only the plump, full

moon filling up our window.

He, she, it, hermaphrodite moon,

changing its resilient sex

as it crosses over borders

from one country into another,

accomodating every language, every idea—

this chameleon moon

is laughing with white fish stuck in its

triumphant white teeth.

Only the moon laughing at me

who still wants it dark,

who still wants to sleep.


outside our window?


From The North No 4 (1988).