In her land, it rains every tenth day

(for Andal)

வாங்கக் குடம் நிறைக்கும் வள்ளல் பெரும் பசுக்கள்
நீங்காத செல்வம் நிறைந்தேலோர் எம்பாவாய்.

The hill fashions clouds
the illupai breathes deep to enable this.
Shrouded in a fog the pimpled bark of wild lime
loops liana climbers under hoary limbs.


The red earth swirls in a dust storm
precipitation veins the hill.
The mercurial rupture on the boulders, the burst
of life tosses the crown of kadamba.


The heartwood browned with age holds
the secret of her progeny. Stewing  the sap
into the folds of the skin, she births a calf  
who sleeps in the ooze of milk.

The coffee drinkers

When the milk was delivered midmorning            languor
cradled in the crook of the household            

On the coal stove blazed by asthmatic breaths
coffee beans splayed open         peaberry plantation 50 – 50        

Pampered in Madras the pattanam girl
was given to coffee drinking        That was why

I was born dark like the beans         fathered by Kuppiah
in the mango grove       Decoction congealed tar on milk      groping

dark hands mottled the fair skin as mid-day coffee drinkers
wove fumes on glass slats