Sunday, Jun 26, 2022

Arc Of Chaos & Suffering: Poems By Kinshuk Gupta

The writer Kinshuk Gupta is a medical student and a poet

Arc Of Chaos & Suffering: Poems By Kinshuk Gupta
Photograph: Getty Images

Country, Razed

While waking under a blue, blushing sky, you want to think that the world
is the resonant throat of a mynah, disguised on a branch bursting
with red flowers. That there are enough breasts to cuddle the babies
crying in unattended cribs. That a teenager on a bicycle will stop,
watching a black Mercedes crush the ribs of a dog, blood bursting
from its body like lava. But then there are
headlines in black bold letters,
videos of men in skullcaps and crocheted shawls swarming the airport,
chasing each aircraft, latching onto its wings,
before it moves out
of their clasp. The desperate women are
crouching on the hot tarmac,
holding morsels of naan, watching men with
rifles release fatwas—
Visit Market With Male Escort; No Revealing Sandals or Clothes;
Stones for Adultery, Execution for Tight Clothes. Before entering
the aircraft, a young boy with swollen eyes kisses his country
on the map, allows it to flap in the bruised air, hoping
that someday it will become a bird. Two girls, their bodies
once twined like fig seeds, twist the neck of a hen and listen
to life flickering out of its body. The neighbours walk holding hands,
sand slipping from their sweaty fists, clustering  on the borders
like the paws of a leaping Urial. How, within minutes, a country loses
its frostbitten fingers, tomb-shaped chest, rickety heels to become
blood, bones, blasts of smoke. The drones of other countries circle
the cores of lithium, assess the risk-benefit ratio of each strategic step,
send planes to airlift only their citizens. The prime minister of my country
 is busy hoisting the flag, speaking in his husky voice about a hopeful future.
Perhaps Auden was right about the human
position of suffering—
when light is slashing your eyes, someone across the street
must be opening his window to the splash of sunlight.