A glance at the online newspaper
and I close that window
but not before several others open in me
and in each one is a different country

The numbers of those dead
would terrify a math book
All I see are1.5 million homeless
800,000 of them, children
Another opens closer to home
where dubious crusades for equality
take place between dogs and men
and where people fall like electrocuted mosquitoes
Smog from their pyres will hang as
torn washing does from choked balconies
till the next festival of communal hatred
repaints the sidewalks red

More windows fly open with alarming alacrity
I reach into me
to pull out a thorn stuck within
A thorn that plugs a hole
through which I see scattered seeds
buried like land mines around me
their distorted shapes deprived of sunlight
screaming wildly:

“Don’t mingle with him servant’s kid”
“Avoid him drunkards”
“Shoo her away beggars”
“Keep a watch on your shoes buskers”
“Don’t let him touch you lepers”
“Don’t bring her home orphaned”
Don’t fall in love with a child of a different god

These are failed seeds
They might sprout but their tentacles can never grow
the soil being barren,
intrinsically lacking the fecund humus of hatred and irrationality
This soil, prepared with wisdom and watered with care
can receive
only the seeds of love

– Reena Prasad

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