Meena Kandasamy

1984 - / Chennai / India

Evil spirits

You are possessed.
Witch doctors believe in phantoms,
that cause your illness. But, driving out devils
can be challenging. Spirits are given away—

We are made to sit opposite you,
Force-fed a ‘meal'—bland food mixed
with your hair, nails, spit and pus.
Illegally (despite the government ban),
We take your hoard of evil spirits
Barter-system: for having ate your food.

And because ghosts and ghouls
obey your rules, they leave you to come to us.
Is this ‘transference'? An unofficial appeasement.
We become inhabited by the dead,
who ruins our doomed lives. Demons in our
bodies are brutal tenants and frequently,

They suck with their vampire tongues
to drink our anemic blood —
leave their puncture marks, which
can be faintly seen on our black skins;
skins that bear greater scars,
reminders of larger, human cruelty. . .

Anyway, there isn't a lot of life in our bodies.
We are souls. Wandering souls. Still, once
Ghost-tasted, we rot away. We rot away.
Remember, rotting is a long procedure. . .
Day by day, we grow coffin cold and slowly
Life creeps out, a lazy earthworm.
At last, we die.

We die.
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