Hands still rough, crusted with yesterday.
Spools and white spools strung up end to end
between rain-beaten telephone poles. And stir
the color up so it runs thick, gaudy
through eaten, unwary fingers.
Thicken also the flour to flowing paste
on the wick-burnt kerosene stove, ladle 
high and back and up and back, again.
Smash a couple rum bottles, maybe three.
Crunch and grind the glass, strain it fine
to a dark heap of dry dust on newspaper.

Street corner woman watches you. She chews
her blackened nails busily as you stoop
over the huge stockpot, arms elbow deep
in fluid, hand-whisking the heavy mix
of colors, glue and glass. Never batting,
she glides with you, your ploshing strokes- the pulp
the churn, the evening of stubborn lumps.
You rise. She runs off. Rolled up sleeves dripping,
you scoop up those lavish armfuls and coat
red layer on layer on endless stretching string.

Bring up the spindle boy, bring it up.
Grip the two ends loosely so they slide
easily like that between the circle
of forefinger and thumb tips.
Pull or slacken but waver, you are gone
in one swift rending swoop, the cunning snip
of tautened thread when hands convulse and settle
to a long, puzzled emptiness, the kite
drifts against the smoke and tea-soaked blocks, 
above rooftop antennas in the end
to tangle, flap and rip, only in luck
spiral down between brick walls to the arms
of another girl who now runs barefoot
from slab to pavement slab on that off chance,
that creeping hope- tenuous and yet crisp
like an endless, homeless length of glass-honed string.

Sambarta Rakhit

If you've any comments on this poem, Sambarta Rakhit would be pleased to hear from you.

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