Bhopal , 1984
He separates smells with ease
Dust of pesticide enfolds him
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
she boards dizzy trains
Shawled in a run-away reaction
she chokes another ninety-thousand
then clears off unquestioned.
Soon I’ll cremate his cyanide eyes, my son’s long
hydrocarbon remains, Soon
the human song.