Flowers and butterflies inspire me no more,
I have seen death too frequently to be fond of wreaths,
I have seen corpses lying like empty coconut shells upon a beach,
I have heard dirges like lullaby in my sleep.

I no longer look for stars in the sky,
Black holes have taken that away from me.
The stars I use to wish upon once
Are now graves of darkness and gravity,
Without time and without light.
I wonder sometimes,
How many black holes are we giving birth to?
Creating one with every war we fight,
Every bomb we drop,
Each child we kill.
Graves upon graves clutter in our backyards,
What were once swings and slides,
Are now tombstones and monuments,
What used to be poetry is now epitaph,
What used to be green, yellow, pink
Is now red,
Or worse, colourless.
Yes, clutter is the word for the graves we are building.
Clutter is the word,
For who cares,
Who cares about that child asking,
‘Miss, will I die?’
Neither do you, nor do I.
That chlorinated child asking,
‘Miss, will I die?’
That baby born of a rape crying in a ditch,
His lungs filling with shitwater with every breath he takes,
His mother cutting herself with blades
And throwing away pieces of her flesh into the sink,
That boy dying of infection brought to him by the same fly
Who buzzed around the decomposing flesh of the raped mother,
Because he doesn’t have the money to pay the hospital bill,
That doctor who wouldn’t save his life
Because he has to fill his already overflowing till
To buy anti-depressants
For his wife which his daughter uses as a rattle
And that daughter who will grow up on drugs
To give birth to children addicted to cocaine and heroin.
That addict daughter, that chlorinated child, that raped mother, that depressed mother, that dying boy, that desperate husband.
No more are people born just people.
They are born with adjectives.
They come into the world as a cluster of bones and leave the world as a cluster of bones.
They only difference is that of flesh,
Flesh that is dissolved as if by acid,
By war, by rape, by hunger, by poverty, by greed, by abuse and by depression.
But no one cares.
Neither do you, and nor do I.

artwork by Peony Yip


6 thoughts on “

  1. I couldn’t get rid of the picture of the chlorinated boy out of my mind ever since I saw that clip. It gave me a sense of indebtedness. Like something needed to be done. Thanks for portraying it so beautifully here Sobia Apa, I felt the debt shed a little through this.


  2. A metered and rhythmic treatise on schadenfreude.
    तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय।


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