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Friday, September 11, 2009


by Ellen Kombiyil

On this particular Tuesday – flawless sky
Cornflower blue, the same color
As the miniature flowers hand-painted
On my porcelain teapot from which
I poured bancha – I warmed up leftovers
In the microwave, set teacups
On starched linen. If only
Steamed dumplings in sweet broth could have
Returned me to Sunday, to dim sum
On Pell Street, the fish tank near the register,
Black goldfish, gold goldfish, red carnations
On tables. But they couldn’t. And after
The running, the walking: all morning
Thousands past my window and into
The afternoon. In the dusty air
The smell of metal. Memory of dessert
Was twin-pronged, the after and before:
Bean-paste buns, sunshine, autumn wind.

Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, and a graduate of the University of Chicago, Ellen Kombiyil’s poetry has recently appeared in 2river, Beloit Poetry Journal, Juked, and MiPOesias, among others. She currently lives in India with her husband and two children.