Today's poem is by Raena Shirali

The State Para-Military Force Speaks

We stood by quietly as the mosque fell. Or was pulled.
The celebration turned riot & all the idols
lay decapitated at Nirmal Nagar. The elephant

god without an elephant head. Even without
the cold, we shivered. The buses around
us enshrined in flames. Who could tell

which temple was falling, and when? Of course
we were in Jogeshwari when we found them.
The sickles. Iron rods flaking dark red chips

into the dirt. The Constable face down
we intervened. Seventy-two times we killed

& were killed. Standing over us, the attackers
mocked. Where's your army now, they said,
& we did not have an answer.

Copyright © 2017 Raena Shirali All rights reserved
from Gilt
YesYes Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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