By Sonnet Mondal
The books no longer smell of paper
the papers no longer smell of education
the education loiters like withered leaves
and the leaves fall as tears on blames.
The rubble looks like a failed mutiny
by the tables, chairs and books.
They seem like the skeletons of a sketchy mankind
clattering a slapdash rhythm.
The poison is percolating and the ears
are being sent into a trance.
Let me go now.
If the rubble ever shapes up into a school again
and not a museum
Call me back to this land.
I don’t see much blood
don’t see forsaken flesh
Just smoke, ashes
and a phantom smell
roving the city
on charred carriages.
I can’t receive anything clearly
can’t even hear my own voice
Just countless tongues
spluttering their worms
on a rectangular device
that feasts on them.
The city leans over the Yamuna
to clean its wounds.
The river coughs and cries
‘No, you are not my kin anymore
The dead were.’
The singed bird ‘D’
beside the ailing river
has lost its wings
its eggs ruined
Still it broods over them.
Note: Penned during Delhi Riots 2020
Sonnet Mondal is an Indian poet, editor, and author of Karmic Chanting (Copper Coin 2018) and Ink and Line (Dhauli Books 2018). Founder director of Chair Poetry Evenings – Kolkata’s International Festival, Mondal edits the Indian section of Lyrikline (Haus für Poesie, Berlin) and serves as editor in chief of the Enchanting Verses Literary Review. He has been a guest editor for Words Without Borders, New York, Poetry at Sangam, India, and was one of the directors of the Odisha Art and Literature Festival in 2018. His works have been translated into Hindi, Bengali, Italian, Chinese, Turkish, Slovak, Macedonian, French, Russian, Slovenian, Hungarian, and Arabic.
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