Image Courtesy: CNN
Light leaks from the city's beak,
a face crumbles under the glowing Ganges;
gold and silver plug up the holes
where spiders spat, lizards hatched
and destinies cached a twig-
a hand crackles in the bile of Time;
Death is a wounded owl hiding somewhere
behind the midnight of a tree –
Death too has eyes; hunger has none!
Now, as I watch countless lanterns
waft across the sky, I wonder
if their flames have been taken
from the ones still drumming upon that pyre-
but then, when they dwindle down,
extinguished, I know they're not;
I look at one at my feet, pick it up,
tweak it, a sapping metaphor,
and then, to clear the mess, hurl it
towards a pack of mutts!
The wind flicks a mean shrug
while I look at the wind…
Sujata, your scalp-white palms,
where are the lines, those hell-marks?
Where is the rust on your tongue?
Are you the autumn wetting my window?
Are you the cloud that shed
its pollen across Valmiki's verse?
Are you the dew lighting a wreath of moss?
Where are the claws of your belly?
Where is the agony in your voice?
Are you floating in a pool of mudras?
Have you come seeking a sloka?
Have you come for a leaf of lotus?
Wherever I tread I leave behind
nothing but bowls of rice,
nothing but bowls of rice –
merciless angel, where are you?
Author's Note: This poem was conceived on Diwali, based on the recent death of a 11-year old for want of grain.