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.