— Ru Freeman

Porphura purpureus     purple
For us: dham     a fruit
shedding its coat in the mouth
for our pains     In paints we choose
kaha for turmeric     bright antiseptic
thambili the hue of harvest
plucked in bunches     a giant’s version of flame-
soaked grapes hardened under
a tropical sun     & kola for myriad leaves
seen from an aircraft hovering over
a ferned nation     lush but     rathu
I cannot trace it     hurts and loves
in our veins     & nil is closer to what the Greeks
saw edging the temper of Agamemnon
aniline shot     flush of abalone     intimate
of spears in our women’s hair     so black
that black must desist     nay     permit
this midnight     this sudden blue

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