Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Water Seller

At dawn beside a shallow sea
Pregnant Savriti leaves her house
of thatch and cardboard. Palms
snake upward, yellow trumpet flowers
surround an elephant-headed god.
Savriti in a crimson skirt
Carries brass jars of water on her head
From house to house. Her child
Shifts in the womb, she sways,
Her bare feet grasp the earth
like fists. The air is hot as blood.
Huge as mirages, supertankers march
in line on the horizon
and in the green lagoon among the slime
a flock of herons drifts,
souls born in bliss,
ice-white and pure as bandages.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Spring 1982), p. 85