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Algarve Cliffs

 


Algarve Cliffs

 - Kavita A. Jindal (India)

High where the earth has been roasting

red dust covers my shoes, fills the crevices

between the curved top of my plimsolls

and my ankles in their white socks.

It’s a guided walk and what I absorb

are the warnings given at each step,

the leader’s constant exhortations:

 

Don’t broil too long in the sun

lest you pucker up dehydrated 

hat, water

don’t walk too close to the edge

lest you meet your fate

in the rocks that are lodged in wait

under the sparkling water

 

This precipice is prone to crumbling;

admire the jaggedness, stay on the path

walk single file, especially right at the top

hat, water

don’t slide don’t slip, don’t venture

to the brink, lest you collapse

with the escarpment into the brine.

 

In the past just a glimpse of the sea could please my heart.

 

What if the guide sees my secret in my eyes?

He’ll admonish:

Don’t dance under the noon sun.

It scorches. 

You could shatter the earth

which in this spot is fragile.

Your dancing could scare the sea.