I should have killed the serpents
that roiled in the river. One escaped,
coiled under the warm stove,
its scales brittle and ready to crackle
into a spiral of fire like Vishnu’s disc.
The house is now drowned. Kitchen fire
doused in rain, hissed like the serpent
I failed to slay, watched it slither
into my dream – poison coloured my nails,
made bones frail till I broke like a twig.
The river washed me away as I divined
the sky, reading as I would my palm where
serpentine lines grooved by storm
mirrored the currents that looped
around, sucking me into dark reeds.
Another poem prompted by the recent flooding in Chennai. See “Flood.”