Pramila Venkateswaran

Early sunrise the sky already a blue
that reaches for white
the road leading to Mullakal temple
absorbs a few men and women
a couple of school girls in uniforms
a cart two autorickshaws
speeding down
a bus stopping comfortably to accept
its one passenger

I walk sweat beginning on my brow
my feet steadily moving down the high sidewalk
toward the boats behind the scrim of wild plants
and then back again to the house
tracing the footsteps of my grandmother
a quick dive into the temple
to say hello to the forest goddess

A few vendors are out with carts of
bananas, green and yellow, mangoes and
Kashmiri apples a temple bell rings
then another crows caw in the wake of sound
stores are shuttered, locks in place.

Neighborhood ghosts hang around
an empty vending stand with its sign
Fast Food and a menu in Malayalam

A distant hum of a motor starting a boat
beginning to slice the backwaters

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