BY SIVAKAMI VELLIANGIRI - India
Not yet midnight. Express chugging passengers
to or away from homes; the train sleeps
underneath the blankets.
In her sleep, someone shakes my daughter’s feet;
bolt upright she sits – forming a right angle.
I yell, “I will hit you.”
A raincoat and a hood, midget beggar
comes to pinch our luggage,
while my daughter says, “put on the lights ma.”
I need to put on my glasses too. He is just a kid,
limbs exploding in different directions,
The parents think it wise to snore it off.
I steer the child to the lower berth, dusting the rug,
cover him up to his chin.
I was at the Madhuram Narayanan Centre and Swabhiman
in the morning. I pat the frightened lad to sleep.
“Why did his family not tell us about this?”
The smell of an overdose of medicine comes across.
I pat his heaving body; he pushes me with such force
that I fall onto my berth.
The bones in his body are not dislocated, his family is.