Thursday 24 November 2022

Bharti Bansal, Poetry 2022 Shortlist

Who Controls The Bulldozer

Blue sky over a brown-coloured house

Its windows open to let the air inside

There is an old song playing in the radio kept on the kitchen shelf

Earth shakes,

A bulldozer roars

The sparrows sitting on the wire fly away

They understand warnings better than us

Loudspeakers blaring

Men in brown uniform gather around

Their feet moving in coordination, monotonous faces in robotic movements

Laughters subside inside the house

The woman moves towards the radio

(A song is a song as long as their is silence around)

Swarm of people

Buzzing with anticipation, talk in urgent whispers

Nobody moves

Nobody questions

But the woman

Another strike and the wall breaks first

(Not everytime a wound bleeds)

She squeals, runs and stands in front of the dwindling house

(When a house grows like a child,

Mother does everything to save it)

The man weeps,

Folding his hands

(Once a greeting to daroga sahib)

Now pleads

Without taking a breath

(Living now is a reflex action)

The witnesses stand as they always do

Before the house turns into dust

(Sometimes violence is submission)

The inspector moves away, bulldozer turns around

People humph casually, as the woman cries

(Nothing breaks like human spirit)

The radio buried under the ghost of a house

Keeps playing the same song as before

Nothing changes

The shops reopen again

(Tragedies are so only when acknowledged)

Tomorrow there will be conversations

But nobody will ask this question," who controls the bulldozer?"

(Some questions are rhetorical. Some answers too carefully crafted )

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