"Morning of the Monsoon"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Jan. 13 2009 7:34 AM

"Morning of the Monsoon"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Diane Mehta read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

The blue-black curve of weather sizzles when it smacks the asphalt.
Ocean air tumbles in, loosely shaped in networks of water.

Embroidered marigolds on muslin, canary-yellow kurtas,
pelican pink blur together in the wash
flowing in rivulets down the grooves of roads

the British built. Rainwater aimless as worshippers
tilted in prayer, chanting the old rhythms.

The monsoon works itself north. Cashews infuse the air
which thrives on motion, ripe fruit, and daily appeals—
a step up in the next world, more love.

Defiant, clouds gather, then fling down an annual sum:
12,000 by flood, 289 by riots, the rest burned to the bone

with garlands. Ash is the color of the road,
my grandmother's ashes cold as my mother's bones,
remains that will be mine. Words don't last in me—

there are too many dialects. I tilt into finite.
The rest plug into a circular, scene-shifting pull of souls—

Nirvana and the rest, rapture—
to be cut loose from life, its repetitions
hell. Like walking into the shade.



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The Supreme Court, Throughout Its History, Has Been a Massive Disappointment

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 2:56 PM How Faithful Is David Fincher’s Gone Girl?
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.