VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Kushal Poddar

The Roadkill

You already have arisen to the steady sobbing.

“Do you think her son is still locked inside?”

I step out.

Night has left its sanguine plumes on our staircase;

its predator moans in the darkness; spring mates

in the pollen ridden milieu with humid heat.

No snivelling I hear. 

Your hands have the threshold in their choke-hold.

The throbbing in our hearts is singular and dead 

by asphyxiation. I say, “No. They took her son away,

remember?”

Rita went to her job the other day and didn’t return.

Her three years old son remained bolted inside.

We would not babysit him since we found F-words 

lying around in presence of our own child.

Idle Haunting

The senescent ghost of our household

dies everytime it stares at a mirror – 

an ever-playing groove, and the frayed music

roams around our flesh and its spirit.

One mandatory rope swing in our yard

gives away one or two untimely creak.

One black-naped oriole calls to nothing,

and I do not know which bird’s titular tune rings.

I and my daughter stands at the oblivion point 

midst the threshold. Light laves us and the ghost alike.

Again and again summer comes, goes.

The shadows grow to decay to regrow.

Sometimes I push my daughter on the swing.

Some nights it rides high on itself.

Crude Letters

One ‘I need a white shirt day’.

Wrinkles set dumpster-fire 

in the yard of ‘Yes sir’.

My colleague’s ears itch; still he hears me

while sucking one dead insect from his latte. 

He whispers something about an F-word mail

one should keep in an ‘in case of emergency’ folder.

I stare at the pavement below, a naked man 

turns in his bed made from a decayed overcoat.

For these days we keep ‘I support’ badges,

and then there flow the other days when

we toss a coin that bumps against the homeless flesh.

l

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