Sunday, March 11, 2012

Poetry of the Waste

Over the pile of rubbish, sits a two year old
shrieking with glee as his hands toss egg-shells,
toffee wrappers, orange peels, cans of coke.
The wealth of textures, colors, smells
differs from the grumbling sensation he shares
with seven others in their one-room home.

In the pile of rubbish, a seven year old forages for buns,
half-eaten bananas, unfinished soda drinks & thanks
heavens for abundance. The teenager hunts
for sacks, shirts, torn socks, handkerchiefs, underwear, rags.
These tatters of overused linen that fill her plastic bags
her mother will sew into blankets,
or mattresses or jholas or garments.

Within the pile of rubbish are books, bags, pens, gaskets,
utensils, beer bottles, toothbrushes, shoes, combs, three-legged
chairs, electronic goods, scrap metal, love-letters, baskets,
pencils, newspapers, and their father cannot stop lecturing
about the poetry of the waste, of lotuses in the muck,
of a famous future that he dreams of unearthing
for the children in that very garbage-heap one day.


First appeared in Indian Review, Spring 2012

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