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Verge 2012: Inverse

THE COLLECTED WORKS BOOKSTORE PRIZE FOR POETRY

JOURNEY

Vidya Rajan

Lord Shiva gets down, at a country town,

maybe named — worth.

You spot him

at the bus stop. He’s wearing a life jacket

and the remains of a tatty suit, cut at the knees.

His skin wrap is dense blue, almost

cobalt. But not a hue you’ve ever seen

at the beach. He stares at the traffic light

for an hour.

Rogue electricity

does not confuse him. He wanders onto a peak hour playground and conquers; rhyming along with the jump rope

like a pro

         pro

              pro pro .

He never discovers fists of bitumen

like you do.

But a country song

(with an early hook)

drifts across the pub floor. You both

find the other

in good spirit; the light is soft, low

and the bartender’s a dear.

By midnight all the fields

are pelagic.

Ink thick in the moonlight they rise to meet

your cheery breath.

Lord Shiva dives in! -

like a prayer.

The scent of sleeping cattle -

is a prayer.

A lamb bleats

a goddamn prayer;

you follow.

Later, in the distance

you rope him into a meal

of rough potato

hospitality.

He sits gingerly

on the edge of his chair.

You point at the sky,

and proclaim the day

rightfully beautiful.

Lord Shiva asks for ice in his tea.

His blue lips dancing

a smile

against the cup rim.

Verge 2012: Inverse

   by Samantha Clifford and Rosalind Mcfarlane