The bus that takes away
the morning's fish
brings the old women.
Tucking up green and purple saris
they wade into the sea like iridescent fish-crows
and settle themselves in the foam.
pour water over them from brass jars
to cool the brain,
while they cackle and splash,
plan weddings, cremations,
lyings-in, among the waves.
Sand shifts, and tickles
their haunches. Minnows
wriggle into their saris as into seaweed.
Riding home in the bus,
wrapped in streaming grey hair
that smells of crab and iodine
they feel the sluggish blood
pulse thinner, more wicked: ancient Aphrodites,
licking salt from their thumbs.