Leaning into Morning

 Avicennia marina sway like women
 with legs bare, salt encrusted in their hair
 like starry nebulae; they wade knee-deep,
 their viviparous offspring visible
 as tender crowns and fontanelles
 afloat in saline shade.

 Little tongues of rain lick off the salt
 that glands of leaves secrete,
 pneumatophores submerge, the water
 seeping through the spongy cells
 with sighs as audible as silk,
 the symbiosis manifest
 as odours of fish-nurseries,
 rich stench of phytogenic clans
 inflected by the tides, in cycles
 synchronising with the moon's.

 Grey mangroves are an ambiguity,
 their feet in sea, on land, emulating
 women wading, reaching out their hands,
 leaning into morning, where the birds
 exclaim in wonder, as if they had
 no sense of yesterday, no thought
 of future plans; as if time could dissolve
 like salt in water where the mangroves stand.

 *Avicennia marina - grey mangroves



 Mangroves flex and shimmer
 under rippling refractions
 on limbs afloat like swimmers
 in the early-morning tide,
 the quality of water reifying
 the mirage of fire, flickering
 and licking at the ashen boles
 and lacquered leaves, so that
 every surface appears fluid
 and mercurial, playing with
 light's multiple identities.

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