Anecdotes, a Fable and Refugee Blues

-K Radhakumar
The sun sinks below the horizon
And life oozes out of the day.
Yet another day fades into unsubstantiality.

The moon hangs very near my kitchen garden;
I peer into my own shadow in the moonlight.
It appears I am moonstruck at 60.

The heavenly bodies coexist peacefully in the sky
And are in seventh heaven.
There they do not kill one another.
In that heavenly kingdom there are
No jails, law courts, hospitals, prostitutes
And no sexually transmitted diseases.

I try to look into the unfathomable depths of my being
And hear myself ask who I am.
My thoughts are an echo of a life I have not lived.

The predicament I am in is very simple:
I am a rat – a hungry rat
Who has gone the last two days without taking any food.
I have responsibility for ensuring food
For my children and a husband with a broken leg.
I am tempted by an ugly trap
With mouth-watering rat feed
Kept at the right place by the humans.
I live in a world
With the poisoned bait before me
And the cat mewing behind me.
A lesser mortal
I do not have any influence upstairs;
I look straight ahead
And run for their life
From the enemies around me.

I am dog tired.
It has been a long day.
I need a good night’s rest.
Every night may not be a lovely night
But tonight is.
Tonight is a lovely night.
He gets the news of his friend
Who has been left paralyzed for years
From an absurd car accident
Dying a peaceful death during day.
May his soul rest at peace.

The woman at the refugee camp talks to the press:
In our beloved country
My husband has but a morsel of land,
A cow, a small pond
And some chickens in the backyard.
We are poor
And struggle to make both ends meet
But we are happy.
Here in the camp, in this place
We do not starve
But are far from being happy.