Girl, exiled.

undocumented rainwater on the soil of her birth
falls in a symphony of lyrical arias and adagio –

songs that no longer sing her to sleep.
dry powdery fields usher the rain in a dance

of dust mites, girls’ tresses eagerly catch those first
drops of cloudburst. pastel dreams do little to transport

her, when she shuts her eyes, all she sees are poor children,
skeletons in their bellies, silent eyes devoid of any notion

of hope. some escape to the land of the plenty, soup kitchens,
food stamps homeless shelters, kindness, opportunity.

some shrivel, others hide in tried-and-tested resignation,
some day they will be deported like her. a life, partitioned

by a wall, she walks – a stranger in her own town,
her accent never belongs anywhere. gypsy, trapped

in a cage of her own making, floating limbo, legs akimbo
clawing her way back. a place where petrichor only smells

like gunpowder, cocaine, fear. no census bureau marks who
gets killed, no law defines who is a traitor. no, they say –

you cannot leave. there is no pasture, there is no green, no
birdsong to match the dirge of an atlas split apart by lines.

© Anu Mahadev 10.8.18


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