bhopal, 1984

Bhopal , 1984

Night shift:

He separates smells with ease

Dust of pesticide enfolds him

like ivories

Entangled in Carbide’s empire

my son, the scientist, labors on

Outside on famished footpath

groundnut fire keeps me warm,

I, the night watchman, I

wait for sound of siren

to bring my son back from harm.




Do I know her?

All I know is: She leaked.

And she dwarfed me in odor

pungent with carrion spit, rat shit, wild onion

Swelled my eyes with offensive vision

I can not imagine my son


in lines of perverse production


It must be the dark Kaliyuga:

Naked gas zigzags my city

out of American Leichenkeller reactors. She rises

to roam the bazaars in turned-out toes, and

baric blue nipples

She kisses cartography, grasshoppers, pages of Gita,

but clots earth’s inherited laughter

She reddens in the throats of crowds, screams,

holds her braids by the aching gamin

There she mixes her breath

in breath of lungs,

and discolors soles, and disfigures wombs, and mutates shadows

Here she pierces a chemist’s tongue,

desecrates human sorrows

Still unsatisfied

she boards dizzy trains

Shawled in a run-away reaction

she chokes another ninety-thousand

then clears off unquestioned.

Day shift:

Soon I’ll cremate his cyanide eyes, my son’s long

hydrocarbon remains, Soon

the human song.