Stream

It is there all the time quietly flowing
Making a strange liminal hum inside.
You wake up to your abrupt dreams.
You hear a midnight ocean of sound
Before morning and the cars begin.

When an unnamed dog stops to yelp,
The machine whir of computer is soft
And the cricket goes home to sleep
You wish suspended animation stays,
You don’t have to flee down a mount
With cryptic messages about stream.

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Evidence

I cannot go to  sleep for lack of evidence.
The world is alive in a dog's bark tonight.
A Dawkins daughter-to letter is evidence
Of  a lack of evidence  for not sleeping.

A buzzing mosquito is material evidence
Of its   aliveness and  my  wakefulness.
The dog's bark is a collateral evidence.

These tidbits-they add up to a lack of girl.
This my typing is evidence the girl is dead
And flying as a thing to embrace her fire
Amid a thousand candles that had walked
A sorrow enacted, a mime staged in dark.

The young woman whose rape and torture by six hoodlums on a Delhi bus shook a nation’s conscience died early on Saturday,

Afterwards

Read now or later is a question settled.
Afterwards is comfortable with enough
Provision for sleeping conscience now
Waking up and now back in the annals
Of recent past history, lull you sure can.

In the night is a light pouring on words
Pouring by the dozens from alien spaces.
In Singapore certain meat  keeps crying.
But not right now , I will read this later
In  readability companion of light words.
It is a long read for later in the evening
And I go to sleep with conscience at rest.

Buddha in the Hussainsagar lake(Hyderabad)

Buddha has stood for the middle of our path
Away from our cleverness and swirling boat
A felicity of word, a beauty of image, a thing.

Inside green waters he had waited for us men
To lift concrete goodness and politician’s fame
Of an actor petrified in the histrionics of time.

His smile beckons us from our concrete holes
To a golden dusk of lake, with dirty contents
Flowing from our shames in our concrete holes.

Images

A crow cawed at  dawn suggesting
A  picture of idolatry, a woman gone
To wall for decorating a living room.
The crow cannot be mom to eat rice.
Our images cannot eat rice in words.
Images cannot eat  rice, only words.

We have other images of ourselves
Hollow men, fleshed out of our bones
Poor nightly creatures of fluorescence
Roaming the empty wastes of minds. 

We have other men with rolled shirts
Staring from ancient space, not yet
Knowing my own coming, that meant
His own going from all space in time.
There was space only for one of us.

All our images are shadows from past
That are cast on our space even after
Real things are gone except in  sleep.

Father

Father would stare from his corner
Of space in time from an old trunk
That smelt iron and old moth-balls.
He looked like my own school self,
A bit lost in space, in shirt-sleeves
Tucked to elbow, not much in eyes.

He would stay  stuck in the corner
With no knowledge I was coming
With future that meant his going.
There was space only for one of us.
He stays wedged between old heads
Staring at old space unremittingly.

Needle

The tailor had an eye for his needle
That went in and out a cotton hole
As if it was his very own heart – lung
Furiously beating in an old rib cage.
His needle had an eye for the thread
That went in like it was a Bible camel.
Diwali is closing in with his  customers
For new dupattas amid light crackers.
The needle has its catching up to do.

This side, old spinster is at her needle
For unfinished dupattas, long flowing
For many Diwalis that went in and out
Riding out  prince  on  the white horse.
Her needle is now spinning long yarns
In endless story, from Diwali to Diwali
That will go on like a failed wet cracker.

Room

I carry from  sleep this very  room defined
By a clipped table light, an indistinct moth
A chair plastic in its back and sitting whitely.
I  like to be defined by a tree back to the sun
And sitting wisely on drops of words in light.
The chair likes to be defined by a warm bum
And aching back of history, from  shadows
Of night after night sleeping, stomach silent
From poems emerging to fingers on letters

Table light is defined by the room of shadow
But would like to be defined by a pair of eyes
And the soft touch of a body where it curves
On the wall ,with a moth walking in shadow.
The moth carries its room with it on the wall
A room of light to embrace a  result of death.
The chair carries a room with it of warm bum
Bristling with possibility of not being  in time.

Tarpaulin

It was  a substitute for the vault of a sky

That had risen indefinitely up and up 
With two kid brothers playing ball on it.
The prankster sky had earlier annoyed
The grandmother's head in her chores.
They have turned sun and moon in sky.

We now have a tarpaulin over our libidos
Besides running buses of lusts to perform.
Under the tarpaulin, while it is not raining
We have cocoons of married togetherness
That are spinning shiny silks of nine yards
In long musical yarns of Hindi film dance.

But it is  raining here in wind and storm.
We have to return tarpaulin to tent maker.
Soon we are naked under  sun and moon.

(A 23 year old girl  who was gang-raped in a running bus in Delhi is battling for her life in a hospital)

Cry

Words are  cry baby's laughing waters
Streaming from its eyes without its salt .
You do not remember when the last
Laugh occurred and a cry turned about
In syllables, like glistening pearl-drops
Of  words slow -forming like night dew.

The eyes will laugh at your cry primally
In the deep belly where it will hurt softly
In a sense making effort, of your  world
Dying gradually from a ludicrous effort.
Cry from stomach was a wasted effort
At collecting lung air, at making sense
Of a chaotic world, of a mother to die
To cry for and about, to mourn in early.

World’s end

Vague  we are, we have made the choice
Of leaving the door ajar, a fat choice that
With the cold wind entering  living room.
We intend to escape choices, ask questions
Leaving answers  open, cold and nagging.

We are sucked into the eternity of a koan.
We sit cross-legged to hurl our questions
At the big question mindfully set in music
To a perfumed stick turning our smells up.

Our world will suitably end at the precipice
A civilization's ruins, a close-ended calendar.
All this while we are awaiting a headless man
To ring doorbell in the small hours of sound.

The moment

The moment was just then  a word
In the night's early life with a moon
And its fine pointy stars confabulating
In a breath-taking geometrical shape
Closely resembling a  forest beast
And stars like its honey food of bees.

We open the balcony door to a night
And the moment is now going behind
In the creaky silence of a night insect
That is traceable to  a sleeping bush.

Balcony's night queens spread a moon
All about the night in a dizzy fragrance
Like flowers in a woman's blouse back. 
We turn to sky and wait for our moment
In a cosmic dome of dizzily whirring stars.

Walking city

Water spreads  growing maps from houses
And feet advance to more and more people
As their brooms cleanse outsides of houses.
Some of them have white foam at mouths
As city walks glowingly with new winter sky
In noises of kids eyes opening to school day
And school girls glowing with talcum smells.

City walks in confused memories of dreams
On old  biryani stomachs growling distantly,
Puppies keep sniffing at stranger feet pants
And sad ladies do their things with brooms.
City walks with scraps of poems under hair
Soon they are lost from city’s thinning pate.

Baby

Child cry is the beginning of war and night
A sadness enveloping , irony growing  lives
Stupidity, not nature red in tooth and claw,
Snuffing out  optimism from kids and news.

Bird baby falls dead from an air-conditioner.
A mother bird  pecks at the angry sky space
On the internet wire , playing out its  irony.

We play irony in our news as a fresh narrative
As a drama  on gun control or mental health
Thinking which is which, about baby’s mouth.
A baby bawls in the basement of a darkness.

Books

Into the  yellow of  light we enter at the sunset
And open page after page of the written word.
The sun shines brightly outside a green carpet
Against the phonetic drone of a man's  words.
Wisdom binds  parallel two-dimensional planes
Together here ,joining them in a common light.

Yesterday we had a bundle of lines cleaning up
A room of straight lines, its light catching them
And scooping them up behind a door's triangle
After kicking up a storm in  cross luminous lines
And flying light dust particles as in a dust storm.
Light was dust flying in our  face, towards  roof.

Light is no longer lines  nor is  broom a bundle
Resting in a triangular door corner , chafing  light.
There are  light points from room's broken lines.
The points now lie in parallel planes of existence
Held  together and a common light thread runs
In them across  vast recesses of a human  mind.

Broom

Having just cleaned  the floor, the broom rests
Behind the door, in a soft sibilant silence there
In the slightly open arms of the door,  triangularly
Marking lines of shadows enclosing a darkness,
A darkness that is a creaking silence, a soft  purr.

It has eaten a room's lines in one large scoop
Lines formed in a half light of curtained sunlight,
Writ in the waters of a window's ascending sun.
The lines are  flights of  birds white to our fingers.
And they will  soon fly to  temporary night rests
As little blobs of white in the darkness of trees.

But the broom has scooped up the dusty light
And the light is now flying feverishly as soft dust
Particles towards  higher reaches of the room.
After creating the storm the broom safely rests
In the shadow of the door's triangle with the wall.

Rust

Can moss oxidate is our question hanging
In the cliff, as a hanger is mid-air and against
Streaks of water, dropping from  higher rocks
And a shirt color or two emerges at  bottom
Among rising food carts for colored sweaters.

Seems we have lichen  in oxide color of rock
Or  moss that gathers no green but  brown.
Imagine rocks rusting like our good old iron.
Their ancient sun does not make chlorophyll
But brown tiny leaves, in pearl-drops of rain
The sun may be rusting of  old age in the hills.

It is not the sun alone who is rusting , in case.
The monks are doing the same thing in ocher.
Their child presences are smoking in laughter.
As white curls emerge from their rust brown
Clothes with Buddha peace prevailing in folds.
As they run peace prevails in higher echelons.

The light grew less in his eyes

We hear a body's fall  steeped in a melody
With  exquisite sound gone from its fingers.
The eyes fell  of broken strings , their music
Lost in the winter of its time, in its nightfall.

 The glass spread quickly in its stringing eyes.
The big black eyes were strung to a fine song,
The song of a lifetime, the flow of a generation.
The sound is now ashes, the eyes just beads.

(Remembering the big black eyes of music maestro Ravi Shankar who passed this week-)

Who we are

That we will all know in the morning
After the birds wake up to the song
The left over of yesterday's tree music
Day before yesterday's and other bird.
Other who we are,  we  come to hear.
And other  who they are ,we will know.

Primarily we shall wake up to birdsong
And the god-song of  east reddening
And if we are still found short of breath
We resort to the finery of a bird's nest
Atop the air-conditioner unit,the chicks
Lying dead on a morning's potted plant
After the night's music was lately over. 
We then go over to the fringes of birds
Assembled on  internet wire for music.

Stranded

The child in  falling knickers looks at sleepers
And feels stranded ,beside  snoring sleepers
Their sleeping mouths open like death's caves.

The child is stranded in a sea of sleeping men 
In the mausoleum, as its pillars rise to the fans
That stir afternoon air,  stranded in a hot roof.

The child is stranded beside  sleeping parents
Themselves stranded in a sleep of mausoleum,
Over sleepers of ancient deaths in royal finery.

Passage

Everything would pass in the  snow hills

Even the hordes who would climb them
And run down ancestors with their cows

Along rivers snaking down from the hills
Much like elephant foot  soldiers elsewhere
Who had brought about  a civilization's fall.

There, down, in western hills  a fierce wind
Would blow in the pass on temple's beauty
Now stirring wind mills for pure tax profits.

There is no pass but a well worn passage
A message to the world to give a passage
A passport to gold riches that side of  sea.

Among us is a grave passage that runs quietly
In  vast spaces,  filling the debris of our nights
A narrow pass that vanishes in the vague hills.

cul de sac

We went into our eating ( by way of  a cul de sac

Where we reach the bottom end with the fingers
Scraping the darkness there), in chillies and garlic
With a touch of  millet and sweet solid cane sugar
In a blind alley in a car that can take only  a u-turn
From a wall staring at our going away after a belch
With a lips- reddening leaf with a  white stuff in it.

The fingers touch the bottom darkness that tickles ,
Quickly come out to light, a wave length stretching
And return to where you all began, to bag's handle,
An entry into the car's little space, a medicinal talk
That went over to  little cul de sacs in our bodies on
A journey to largest of them, to their deadest end .

The Chinese fisherman

On the wooden cupboard there he stands

With a slung shoulder pole of  fish baskets 
In a bearded  continuum from an ancient sea
Sharing his porcelain immortality with them.
These are things we live among and eat with.

We some times stare at him in a film of dust.
His fish is eternally dead in bamboo baskets
Like his wispy beard, white as the  sea-surf.
Mostly we feel his gaze in our back as we eat.

Examined life

This morning you will examine life 
As a document from the archives
While looking into a balcony's dark
Extension, its trees secretly living
Unexamined lives in a dark breeze.

Socrates is not an unsociable jerk
But is only finding a worth living life
Of a bearded philosopher of a wife
Who is about to sprinkle dirty water
On a  beard,quivering for meaning.

We are not  to find meaning in pigs
Going in ham sandwiches, forming
Lumps in the throats of philosophical
Inquiry, finding meaning in pig's life
Nor in our  life history of eating pigs
With its justification rooted in nature
In a convoluted evolutionary theory.

We only wonder if the examined life
Is worth all this time,and what we do
Finally with the overwhelming sarcasm
Behind all this, with the smelly bones
At the bottom end of such inquiries.

Spaces

Here I stand now to receive blessings
From a father’s thin air ,now felt at
The balcony’s falling off into a night
My night poetry being of many spaces
This very room shall afford a window
Of opportunity, the curtains a glimpse.

Lest I forget the sill I bring the moths
Out of season,out of rain,their embraces
To the glass of death,their glassy wings
Shall bring a re-generation of  leaves
And the  flowers ,heads down in shame
Their feet put up to the sky of surrender.

I forget the lake of my liquid space
Its waters jutting out from the rocks,
A white smoke behind a garbage dune
Killing a soft wet poet’s innocent verse.
I forget the road of the hanging trees
The pollution van standing to abolish
Poverty and pollution in a round plaque
The crows hanging in trees with worms
To early sun sleepily rising like always.

Lest I forget I hear the drum beating
Of a train picking up gravel hitting speed
In a rising crescendo of the drum stick
By a bearded player who changes tracks
And  drum beat shamelessly mimicking
The train while it is away on  nightly rounds
With people tucked away in a dark womb.

Fictive

What you write in the smallness of hours
Under the inverted light is a fictive thing
An excision of reality from your dark night
A hard to feel thing,a  texture of the night 
Just the way medicine spreads in the back
A liquid calamine to soften  angry flames 
Of passion rebelling in your layered veins.

The soft old poet calls it  supreme fiction
A rebel  song  rising to haunted heavens
From an open book in  converted palms.
What you sing will  not last to the far end.
But an echo  of  being there somewhere
Parallel  to a world that is someone else's
Fictive universe that closes with your eyes.

Sliver

The dog’s bark is a pillar of the night
Wrest it away and  night may crumble
Like a  scaffold  holding the creeper.
A petite mosquito buzzes near the ears
Singing its poetry of the unreal kind
A sliver from my own smoke of burning
Where we all  burn in our daily smoke.
The sleeping lizard on the roof is a sliver
From my own smoking life, from a roof
That  tumbles without a sleeping lizard.
Words are a sliver from  smoking nights .

Curtains

They keep you away from a  fine dust
Of  diamond needle pricking the earth
In great fanfare, to bring out its waters.
In  ongoing  journey from water to dust

The sun's fine powder pours in them
Through their large flowers ,stretching
Like ones that smell nice in the balcony
Of a midnight, from its dark vagueness.

They shut you off from men's crawling
Their images in a  night's walking sleep
Their dreams shut in the private rooms
In muted conversations of private bodies.

Quiet poems

Early man's dream promises truth
Early man is  late man of morning.
With quiet poems at beck and call
Like the poet who saw coins settle
At the ocean's floor in a loud sun.

Be Frank,O Hara, coins shall vanish
In the sinking flesh of a soft twilight.
A birth did not take place in March
Because parents delayed  marriage.
There is no stopping a  dune buggy
On the ocean beach ,its date certain
And timing a devastating frankness.

(Frank O' Hara's life and poetry)

Homesick

Soon he would become homesick
Sick of a  home  away from a home
Where coconuts danced all night.
He would go to bed and not get up.
To a big bank of numbers and notes.

Small numbers crawl up to big ones
Where they swallow the small ones
Into a big  sky of a billion numbers
Where light is distance , not sound.

You keep a day book of numbers
But your red ledger is quickly filled
Their figures enter steel cupboards
Where they would live for the night.
You forget to take them out next day.

(upon the passing of a senior colleague in my bank)

Half told tales

There is this morning you stay ahead of
For   words to remain within your grasp.
The winged chariot steals just  behind you
In a moment’s program of words ,a  quest
For meaning , a context from the universal.
And you do not have the years for words.

He the  reader of words has  all the years.
In his mornings of darkness he shall read
Meaning in half told tales, impose  contexts
And craftily make beauty in their assembly.
If he  moves away from truth, let him do so
Because he is making his beauty on the sly.

Holes

 A poetess whines about  love,
 Four letters being the shortest
Cliff-hanger hole, grip  or leave 
Or merely gripe about the holes, 
Shun love to plug damn holes.

You hang on  the cliff by  holes
Since if you let it go , the holes
Shall gape at you in all your life
Like black holes of empty space.

Love is word that is just  a hole
In  lexicon ,pp 123, as you flip
Page after page for  the letter .
All fingers shall disappear in it.
With a funny sound they  go in.
Your mouth is  the biggest hole
That stays gaping in vast space.

Cricket

The cricket has just  opened its window,
In my ears, to darkness on the other side.
Crickets open their sounds to our  ears
And are  sole  windows to  night sounds.

Their song imparts motion to dark sound
As happens in the leaves around a  bird.
That wakes up at midnight to flutter  wings 
And gets back to  its old Siberian dreams.

Darkness is sound from a cricket's throat
And  vanishes as its  throat is vanquished
By the soft light sound of the morning crow.

Living in irony

We wake up from our afternoon nap,
That is an ironic re-living of nostalgia
A dream broken by a ringing phone.
The phone  stirs you to wakefulness
To the unbroken ironies of our lives
Including our sleep that is also living
An exquisite irony ,from birth to death.

He watches us ironically with a smirk.,
A puckered up face from an alien sky,
One floated in with no sense of place.
He watches us from the black granite
Of  two  white chalk columns and red.
His smirk hovers over us  like a buzz
Near ears, when we are dead in sleep
In the ironic warmth of winter blankets,
Leaving noses to breath continued life.

Let the wailing dogs lie

We wonder why the dogs have to bark at nights
With mournful snouts pointing fuzzy possibilities
Of other things,  of pale moons hanging by trees,
Of  wind whistling in the rush of a sleeping lizard,
Of a car  past our  lengthening shadows dragging
Our day times to the other spaces,the other times.

Wonder why dogs have to shout at  our bellyaches.
In the wee hours, before another fine dawn breaks
On our missing  people rubbing their eyes at dawn.
And why we do not put up our  snouts to the night
Before a  dawn breaks on missing  dogs crinkling
Rheumy eyes at the  incoming suns of  our window.

Yellow

I now write into a yellow colored paper
A mass of yellow of  an electric sheet
Of many crawling letters,coming to life
As my another night moves on to  decay
Spurred on by a fading cricket's noise.

A blind poet wrote yellow before his dark
Who wanted to remember the last world
As a yellow world that stood out in  fog.
A fog can only be gray like a frog visible
Only by its leap across the rain puddle.
A yellow sun that stands out in the dark
Stays in eyes as before they are closed.

Words are little frogs in this yellow sheet
Visible only by sudden jerky movements
Across long stretches of accruing meaning.

Mobs

We  floated all our red and blue balloons
Colored kites that chirruped like sky birds
Scraping the blue off our childhood skies.
We daubed yellow paint on dancing bodies
Pretending to be tigers in their jungle race.

We  lit huge wood fires at the road's center
To burn demon kidnappers of God's wives
And later saw them in the evening laughing
In pain from the blue sky of their ten heads.
We  burnt monsters only to bring new ones
That we would need to burn the next year.

Our sounds  have all the complex patterns
Nuanced like the goat skins of our dreams
That are goats that would die in  stomachs
For the larger stomachs of fierce goddesses
And for our ears for their aural complexity .
Our meaning comes from our mobs of time.

Elegies

Lest we should see our elegy on a stone
With awkward spelling mistakes we live on
Under the gray sky till we close our shop
But we so scare away ghosts from  minds
That they turn tiny white dots in our eyes.

They are mad mistakes making musty words
With gray funeral humor elegizing our death.
Bodies chuckle to themselves in fun humor
Taking a sneak peak at the elegies in making.
Elegies are gray named after English poets
But there can be shades in  funeral fashion.
Like flies that swarm eyes quite unpoetically.

Gold finches are back or some such things.
Death is something we do slightly unusual
But our elegies are usual and gray repeats
With some fatal errors leading to dead ends.

( Reading  Poets Mourning poets :Paris Review Daily http://goo.gl/755jb )

Winter bird

Winter  begins with  cricket sound in the loft
From the outer darkness of an empty shell.
It is in body hair perking under sheep's wool,
The body paint of a sheep dead to the hills.

Winter is annual  bird nesting in old bodies.
It steadily pecks at old  face's lonely warmth 
Behind woolen mufflers shutting out sounds.
The old eyes eagerly look forward to its return
To the white wild wastes of its Siberian home.

Next

The morning went silent with blood carcass
On the road , fresh from a death in the night.
The penultimate is itself dead to keep alive
Existence of a smiling banker of years ago
In god's kingdom ,near the sea's beginning.

When the  penultimate was blissfully dead
One hoped the ultimate would escape death
Since everything was connected to all things.
But there is an ultimate to every penultimate.
In this continuum the ultimate is penultimate.

Doorsill

A yellow wood sported bright red suns
That witnessed the goings and comings
Of  ghosts of yesterday's livings in bodies
Waving on the doorsill like flower garlands .

They were garlands in somebody's necks
Ululating as the earth moved to the hills
And beyond ,in space and the big bright
Door through which they passed like wind.

When at night the door is closed you hear
The whoosh of the wind as if it is these men
Passing through the doorsill at midnight.

Walking the town

Early in  morning we walk the roads
Through wet maps of night cleaning
By excess of water over its foot dust
To a gluey paste of mud and leaves.
Those are dewy tokens of fallen nights
That at times stick to our undersides.

Wetness does not drop from the skies
But from plastic buckets in violent acts 
Of house cleanings duly dirtying roads.
No dripping dew from drenched trees,
Just white foam from morning mouths
And dropped milk  making white maps
Giving a foretaste of  morning coffee.

The museum

Childhood was largely a museum  for  the poet

Of winding lanes , where they   go up in the air

At the end ,at  their conversation ‘s dead end.

Men were at the end of  conversations loosely

Hanging in thin air by their flowing white clothes

Those were ghosts of  earlier colored clothes,

Monkey caps against the biting cold of the hills.

The caps they donned were of monkeys in nose,

In absurd monkey movement, from tree to tree

Looking for fruit in the cold space of blue winter.

They  quickly reached the end of conversation.

At the end of conversation hung a monkey cap.

The child wore  monkey cap on mom’s shoulder.

As moms went in the hills there were dead ends

To every conversation, dead ends to every mom.

Potsherds

Potsherds

In  ancient Lothal ,a combination could be lethal.

Here combinatorial creativity embraced a pool

A pretending jetty for far off  ships of merchandise.

Ghosts had done their bit in their broken plinths

Their ghostly footprints disappeared in shrubs.

They had  streets with dirty water running under

And houses of brick and mortar,with living dreams.

 

The potsherds were all gathered up in a museum.

The ghosts were potsherds , standing on one leg.

Their thin insubstantialness went up to a hot sun

Showing up in cowherd clothes, waiting for  a bus.

The then cowherds along with  cows turned souls

Standing on ,among the potsherds of the then mud.

 

Mud comes in its  combinations of  things and men.

We break   to reinvent them afresh all through time

Under the same sky, with a blazing sun studded in it.

The next time you visiit an archaeology site look for

Potsherds of our earthy existence among its pottery.

The lie

It grandly lies abroad like ambassador
Coming out for ceremony, in bird plumes
Of carnival, moving away from a warlike
Situation, creating  your night, for you
And for me and all other night creatures
That lie on pillows of spent lies weeping .

Ambassador comes home for holidays
Creates a shindig for who lie on old lies
Creepy-crawly insects lying under stone.
An ambassador is one who lies abroad
For the welfare of  country, lying mostly
In the purest white smoke of official lies.

Our white lie speaks mostly in the dark
In nightly florescence on lonely balconies
As we move away from our soft pillows.
When it will speak we cannot telephone
Nor reach out for the nearest newspaper.

(Echoing  the Dylan Thomas poem  “I have longed to move away“)

Doubt

Our poem remains in doubt, a thing
From a state of chaos, a confusion
From John Keats' negative capability
A premature death to stay in doubt.

Doubts are hopes, skips and jumps 
Over gaps of thought, feet stretching 
Over stones of words, lightly visible.
Around them is mush that hides frogs
Potential for swallowing by snakes. 

Green frogs are waiting to be eaten
As they jump into water muddying it
To a  ripple of unresolved questions.
We live with just a snake possibility
Making peace with muddy ambiguity.