Ocean of Milk

I remember small bottles of warm milk.
Each day a child was chosen to distribute
the silver sealed glass.
They never chose me to be monitor,

The snake is in the ocean of milk.
Whiteness from his scales falling.
Monsoon on the sea.
On shore gods and demons swarm.
Painted butterflies.
Myriad thirsty eyes.

Snake as a churning string.
Seven oceans surround.
The gods will never let the demons taste immortality.
Never let their curled, unfurling tongues sip amrita.

Clinking bottles chime.
The small pride of the chosen child.
And my resentment, building growing, churning into
all the things they don’t know.
Poison and nectar.
Shadows rich and poor.
The Moon.
A white elephant named Airavata.
A horse named Uchchai srava.
And Kalpavriksha,
the tree that yields whatever is desired.

[Deborah Walker grew up in the most English town in the country, but she soon high-tailed it down to London, where she now lives with her partner, Chris, and her two young children. Find Deborah in the British Museum trawling the past for future inspiration or on her blog:http://deborahwalkersbibliography.blogspot.com/ Her poems have appeared in Dreams & Nightmares, Star*Line and Enchanted Conversation.]

1 thought on “Ocean of Milk”

  1. I sense the disappointment of the child. It’s a fascinating poem, but I’m not sure that I grasp the entire meaning of it – maybe if I knew more about Indian culture it would make sense. Nicely done, though.

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