This is for my friend, Md Mukul.
He says God gave him this life and made his Papa poor.
My tongue thrashes in confinement of its cave,
bitterness drips down the drain of my throat,
ripples unsettle blackwater in my belly,
a cesspool of ungodliness.
He says people think he is only a migrant worker,
the thousandth architect of this diapered nation;
temperature-controlled conglomeration of cots,
pampered child of a newly dead man.
He says people never see that he has to
wire next month’s dal to Papa’s dining table,
whittle away the hard shells of strangers,
write his poems with dirt-smeared hands.
He says people never see that he can make
pigeons dance with his peace song,
bridges assemble in laughing rain,
stories unroll to carpet mountains.
Brother, my words are polished with blackwater shine,
bubbling from the place where God is dead,
where poverty tried to escape but man didn’t let him,
turned him into a scarecrow stuck on infertile soil
to watch mothers make more mouths to feed.
Your words are marigolds,
fragrant parasite repellent tooth smiles,
hamsa hands shielding a wall of nails,
a boat that catches the sun before it descends
and rocks it to sleep on a sacred sea.
How dare I condescend your freeing faith,
the luminescence of predestination,
burn the blueprints of an unfinished construction site
and make your machine sit still?
How dare my blackwater belly growl in disbelief
and drown holy script in its septic tank,
spurt poison at hands throwing healing food
so they never reach the poor man’s mouth?
Sorry I was born here instead of you.
Sorry my war is over and my books are read.
Sorry all my apologies are written
in red and white invisible ink.
Sorry for birth’s lottery.