Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Riots in Bangalore

Morning in April, the war still on, sun silting the kitchen
like coffee grounds in the sink. In yesterday's Times

mourners in India ripped doors from hinges, smashed

loose shutters. Like the ancient Rites of Spring--
steer roasts in the budding groves, lions waiting to be fed--

the pageantry of death so close to bliss. The street's all aftermath:

torched cars, trampled grass. The day hoisted by its shoulders
and carried away. After all these months, I've come to expect

nothing less of despair. A hero dies and why not

take to the streets, join the cherry trees rallying into bloom?
Death so close you can reach out and tear a board

from the casket, taste the bitter singe of rubber in the air.

And why not follow the ambulance like Orpheus's keening
head down the river of bodies, add another voice to the severed

song? Even now, as grief threatens to strip the world to its naked

scaffolding--the war entered a third year, you still nine months
from home--blossoms swarm my window and the sun

impulsively flashes, bare flesh beneath a shredded veil.

-Elyse Fenton