Even before the sun splashes orange
dawn on the marble floor
I hear the men outside, only their feet
in worn flip-flops, bony and dust coated,
scuffling dry earth to balance-
one at each corner of the rusty cart
full of cement that sways
gray slurry, as they navigate the bumpy road.
Long-armed, one leans away to counter
a dip, no one speaks.
I wonder if they sense some oceanic
swell in the gray cement, like waves,
the manifested sludge an avatar
of a fervent god they each attend.
Since surely all the men
must hear the bird with spiky punkish crown
that darts through yellow-blossomed
Neem leaves as the sun soaks through,
no one needs to look. Only I am startled
daily by that hoopoeing self,
its ardent yellow call.