Meena Kandasamy

1984 - / Chennai / India

Fire

Black satanic fumes
shroud the blank blue skies
in puffing jet black soot;
few flashy cameras record
glimpses of destruction
(for tomorrow's papers). . .

Our huts are burning—
Regular huts in proper rows.
Dry thatches (conspirators-in-crime)
feed the flames as we rush out
shrieking-crying-moaning
open mouthed hysterical curses
and as if in an answer—
when the blazing work is done
Fire engines arrive . . .

Deliberately late.
These feverish cries continue
in the same shrilly pitch
echo, echo, echo and
finally reach. . .

Up there.
Reverberate and sound as loud
as snail shells crackling under nailed boots
and perhaps as distinct and defenseless.
This double catastrophe projected in sights
and shrieks evokes. . .
No response.

Those above are (mostly):
indifferent bastards.
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