In their determination to air brush miseries; Of non-flying flamingos, they embrace the lockdown; Like a new monotheistic religion, and Stay confined in the foetal eyes of deadly viruses.
Verse in lockdown
Streets are empty
Waiting coffee shops slowly grow oblong, and
I wake up smashing the transparent tea plates in my kitchen.
Condemned to vulgar physical comfort
Pink-turbaned flamingos preen and bathe
Behind iron-barred parapets of skyscrapers.
In their determination to air brush miseries
Of non-flying flamingos, they embrace the lockdown
Like a new monotheistic religion, and
Stay confined in the foetal eyes of deadly viruses.
Herded into special Shramik trains for their home towns,
Hungry migrants scrub each other’s back with pink-feathered comb, and
Let out savage cries from the back of nasal lungs.
The desire to stay safe is so strong, and
Ferrying silence has become such a profitable business
Engine drivers don’t mind
Slaughtering sleeping grasshoppers on desolate tracks.
Now, I am not surprised why flamingos refuse to
Fly back to refugee camps in the Siberian wetlands.
Ashwani Kumar is a poet, writer and professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. His latest poetry collection, Banaras and the Other, was longlisted for the Jayadev National Poetry Award