All at once, we are.
Our world of vapors and dew,
Crosswinds and trade winds,
Breaks open and we fall.
Around us are those who were once us, too,
When we were one, a castle in the sky.
Who are we? we cry to our neighbors.
Monsoon rain, we answer, shining in the dim light, priding our wisdom.
We’ve fallen before, we explain,
Fall and rise and fall again.
Colors, shapes below open to embrace us,
A quilt, patched with painted roofs and stitched with dusty roads.
Smack, we land on a hot cheek.
Strands of hair,
Plastered by our bodies on open pores.
We taste of sunscreen. SPF…30?
Heat-swollen fingers approach and again we fall—
Fall and rise and fall again
To a sandalled toe,
Wobbling on a brick, a pedestal, a mere lily pad
In the pillaging flow.
Horrified, our howls drowned deep
In a murky brown massacre.
We scream, Who are we?
Monsoon rain, we answer,
Speckled with the city, riding our waves through swept-bare streets—
Falling and rising and falling again.