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Shanta Acharya, from Dreams that Spell the Light

The Sundarbans

I

A strange, wild place fed by the Ganges
sweeping across the plains of Bengal
to the Indian Ocean; here are no boundaries

Keeping fresh water from salt, river from sea,
land from water, island from island.

The pure of heart venture into its labyrinth,
only the true believer can fathom
its secret waterways, decipher its currents;

Their travel through awkward lands
are brief ruminations written on their hands.

Men dispossessed foray into its forests
for food, fish, honey, fresh berries,
wood, even tiger-parts, rich relics.

The strong and fearless enter this
immense archipelago of islands;
some treacherous, vast as cities,
others shifting sandbars of dreams.