A POET'S LIFE BY RANJIT HOSKOTE
He married birdsong.
He sailed to the black island.
He survived gunshots.
He wore a sweatshirt under his linen jacket.
He talked to parrots in Greek.
He excavated lighthouses by night.
He asked to be paid in paper money.
He counted up the day's syllables before dinner.
He wished the balloons hovering above the docks were Chinese lanterns.
He called out to the spirits of drowned sailors.
He walked down to the sea with the town's fishermen.
He painted their grey nets in grainy gold on the beach.
He picked up ridged violet shells and blew wet sand from them.
He avoided striped red-and-white blinds on summer mornings.
He avoided the roasted façades of brick buildings on summer afternoons.
He noticed the oranges in the fruit stalls were shrinking.
He remembered in detail the railroad town where he was born.
He collected the rust and shadows that gather on ageing metal surfaces.
He licked his stamps himself, the envelopes addressed in green ink.
He glued the spout back on the broken chocolate teapot.
He opened the door to the deck and prayed the tree would burst with apples.
From The Atlas of Lost Beliefs by Ranjit Hoskote, published by Arc, PBS Summer Recommendation. Available to order here with 25% off for PBS Members.