Poem 5: Oolong, by Judith Lal
In a dance with two fingers
they pluck the first two tips of camellia
when the season is a sterling flush.
A sometime heat finds out green
humming a recipe to itself.
No time for the Krishna butterfly
to smoke into the concentration of perspiration.
With their creche of babies
rocked high further on
they must fill the quota and over.
Delicate, where foothill rings
step close together
under layers of a wide skirt,
ghats where the sun is still young
before the pukka guesswork of rain,
where an umbrella is a basketed idea
in service to monsoonal silver.
A few rupees flown down. Needs must.
They laugh with us who drink dust.