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Migrant lives are often denied dignity in death – just as they are in life. The recent lockdown made that starkly visible.
Yesterday your mother said,
they will give us onions and bread
and you slept on her by the tracks.
Don’t try to wake her today – she’s dead.
Tomorrow, you’ll wake again in soot
and your plight will they turn into vote.
Prejudiced Gods got temples worth crores
and saviours with pockets bursting in cash.
Our cracked feet and parched mouths were worthless,
Our mothers had no money to buy us coffins;
So they gave us funeral beds on trains
and bread and blood on railway tracks.
Ignoble faces of authority wore masks of commiseration
They walked past us and threw tens and twenties
with masks on their face and Adidas on their feet.
They reaped our sweat and remitted peril,
and announced for us funds in worthless figures
when we needed a pyre, a coffin, a burial.
I am haunted by the raven returning home at dusk
and rats on squalid pavements by gutters
where we sleep and wake, and my wife gives birth
and my famished brother is relieved in death.
My mouth curls as it drips in foul foam and I laugh
and I laugh till I’m free of this vile world.
Image source: Pexels
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