Post Road Magazine #19

Cape Sagres to Lisbon and Back Again

Ravi Shankar


And the promontory, sacrum, cliffs lashed by the waves,

land's end Europe, howling wind, arrhythmic nets

pulled in by fishermen sharing half a bottle of wine

between them, raindrops the size of olive pits plinking

the clay rooftops, mi amor, minarets of the monastery

an architectural oxymoron not based on any gentility

principle that can be parsed in storm, dolmens jutting

from clay, granite eggs crosshatched with scored letters

in an ancient language—druidic?—the dialogical quality

of history in conversation, the rhythm of faint lines due

in large part to the size of the cahiers, bowls of fish soup

and fado guitar overflowing the cobblestone, lurching

streetcars in parallel fifths, far from the Anglican belts

of hymnal, an irreducible secret, unspun wool, Moorish

palimpsest beneath erasures of Spaniards, Catholic dub

the anti-theatricality of the domestic arcane, presiding

over the gnarled cityscape the one and only begotten son,

whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, a middling

fish peeled from hook by handkerchief and from the boat's

bottom a checkerboard pattern palpitating like a heart,

the fishermen rowing back to shore, dragging with them

a wet heat in their wine-stained clothes, heavy with salt.


Surface Tension

Ravi Shankar


Scarified now but how? When we once heard parades

from windows, swayed in artificially


luminescent reeds under the Brooklyn Bridge,

filled soaked corn husks with masa dough,


glimpsed mouse-deer scamper on wish-thin

legs, called each other mon petit coeur de sucre,


split each other like oranges at the navel,

turning pith to string between wet fingers.


Our realm was the back of doors, ill-lit alleys,

lying splayed out on a lake dock baked in sun


until the impulse to jump. We were gods

caught in a rising soap bubble, arms bare,


upswept scent of sand dune barren as moon

except for us twinned, intertwined, tied


to nothing but in the moment each other.

Where did you go? Suds, not love, evaporates.


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