The Salt Makers / janice pariat

In Aveiro
the sea is never forgotten.

Here, in our hands, it hides
in cracks and crevice of skin.

Slowly, we harvest, solidly
as the years pass and wither,

this dust—send it with the wind
to shore, to settle on houses hung

with benevolent faces, watching
the waves. To seep through pavement

stone—a child’s hop-skipped game—
where ship, and anchor, and fish

lie in perpetual frozen turn. This,
we harvest, the earth’s sweat, or

Portugal’s tears—we pile it up,
cold, glistening range of white

tragedy. Like the sailors, we are
always waiting, for tide to draw

its final breath, leaving fine, crushed
bone behind.


Janice Pariat is a writer based in Shillong, Kolkata and New Delhi – depending on the weather. Her fiction and poetry have featured in The Caravan magazine, Nether magazine, Barnwood International Poetry Mag, Nth Position, Soundzine, Qarrtsiluni, Tongues of the Ocean and Kavikala – an anthology of art and poetry, among others.