By Richie Maccs

Their bones dance in the wind,
skulls rolling haltingly in the dust
to rest a kilometer away in dry river beds,
amidst piles of rot and souls in commune,
that hug and hide their faces
from the disdain of the land that bore them.
The black feathery beasts of the wild
circle, as if haunted, and map the expanse
for the freshness of death.
They watch bemused at the hopelessness
of children crawling on their bellies defeated,
and parents blankly stare – tears.

The old, having witnessed life in passing
wait patiently for their souls to desert them.
Their bodies are ant hills of jutting bones
their lips dry, cracking, and pursed –
their tongues have lost ownership of words.
There is no need to speak; no sounds come out
of a belly sunk and plastered on bent spine.
The lungs can no longer hold air for a full breath;
gasps and little coughs squeeze
out of a throat taunting – to close.

Where are the city folks with glistening skins,
cultured accents, and famine solutions to boot?
Do they think of the child that crawls to death
a few hours away, under the roasting sun?
Where are the ministers, with broad grins
and a wealth of verbiage to shoot?
Did they not make the garbage collector
and gas stations wealthy men?
Yet behind their mansions, the young
cuddle garbage cans for warmth;
their mouths frothy with refuse and gum.
Voiceless, their only distress call is a sigh,
before they pass away – waiting for us.

Abandoned in misery’s dark corners, children
wasting; their shriveled behinds gashed with deep lines,
their bones covered by dried-out skin,
pause for us to temper the vagaries of nature
and trap the vestiges of our selfishness.
We walk on – without a care!
But the face of a suffering child is the heart of God
reaching out to stir the depths of our being.
Let’s desire nothing, than to see others too
experience relief and joy.

***

Vultures watch the tussle between soul and body,
celebrate as the body tumbles and stills in the hazy heat,
and moves in – to have a fill.

2 thoughts on “Poetry: Forgotten Lives

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