1 min read

Even after the rains 

the bees from the neighbour's hive 

keep dying on my stairs 

crumples of gauze and spent sting 

like someone trying to write letters 

and tossing them in a bloom of rage. 

Outside, as lockdown colours the city, 

ambulance sirens wail like circling birds 

               birds find no land except pyres and hollows 

in the silences, the bulbul brews new tunes, 

the koel calls for more drinks, and sunbirds find 

they no longer have to shout over traffic. 

In another life, you too may have loved like this 

but now the days fall into each other like water 

dawn too early, dusk too soon, suns too 

harsh to light this river of slow sorrow 

washing up messages of death on your banks.

At night, the SOS calls gather like clouds 

               at night, the typhoon widens its circles for you 

maybe not your body this time, maybe just 

your humming prayer bowls that find no song 

your sacred thread hanging behind a mask 

your holy book, now a nest of unrequited love 

Did the bees pray too, before they fell through glass?

Suchi Govindarajan is a writer, poet and photographer who lives in Bangalore. She’s the author of three picture-books for children (Pratham Books, India). Her work has appeared in publications like Cordite Poetry Review, perhappened magazine, Usawa Literary Review and Icefloe Press. It’s also been included in two anthologies. Poetry is her first love; fiction is her newest.

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