Sukrita Paul Kumar

Sukrita - endgame


In the slaughterhouse
-as in concentration camps-
Live wafts of death-smell
fill all nooks and corners
slide up the cracks in the walls
entangle in cobwebs and
settle in little pits in the earth

In the slaughterhouse
Pores on the animal skin
are gaping wounds,
the hair stand upright in fright
Or lie supine in numbness

Why do the sheep climb up the walls
And the walls stand on top of the roof

Force-fed, fattened and fearful
Hogs, chicken, as also cattle
Each in full knowledge of
What lies in wait

The demons of death grow larger
As the green pastures,
azure ponds, flighty streams
awaken in the genetic memory
of all in the slaughterhouse.

One on top of the other
In the slaughterhouse
they run for their lives
within themselves
get slaughtered
again and again
while live wafts of death-smell
slide up the cracks in the walls.


The white of the bark
Is the frozen heart of the white
Turned white when Columbus
landed on the shores
Of what he thought,
the land of spices

The deepening red
of the leaves every fall  thence
Is not the sudden
blushing of the damsel
It is the blood of the Indians
rising from
The womb of the earth below
Forever pregnant
with the lava of unrecorded
Streams of leaves dropping as tears

Every inch savagely cultivated
Beauty a metaphor of atrocity
Moments of  joy
Pumped from lungs
on ventilators
Men and women in love
their hearts beating
on pacemakers

Staking  their riches
at our casinos
They will lose
Said the Chief each year
We’ll get our land back
With their money,
Let the season pass.


Sukrita Paul KumarSukrita Paul Kumar, has published several collections of poems in English that include Without Margins, Apurna, Folds of Silence and Oscillations. Her two bilingual collections are Poems Come Home (with Hindustani translation by Gulzar) and Rowing Together (with Hindi translation by Savita Singh). She was the Guest Editor of Crossing Over, a special issue of “Manoa” (University of Hawaii, USA). Sukrita’s major critical works include Narrating Partition, Conversations on Modernism, The New Story and Man, Woman and Androgyny. Some of her edited/co-edited books include Speaking for Herself: Asian Women’s Writings (Penguin), Ismat, Her Life, Her Times (Katha), Interpreting Homes in South Asian Literature (Pearson).  Currently, she is on deputation as Programme Coordinator of B.Tech Humanities, Cluster Innovation Centre, University of Delhi.

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