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Submission for April Issue, 2023 (Vol. 4, No. 1) is going on. Last date for submission is 31 March, 2023.

ROAD TO SINAPALI***

 


ROAD TO SINAPALI***

-       Tapan Kumar Pradhan (India)

 

On the road to Sinapali

Two women talked

One spoke of the news

The other one of old

 

In Bhatapani there is no rice

They were cooking dry stones

In a pot of boiling water

Gruel will be ready soon

Rebati Bawa told the kids

When I came out

The pot was boiling still

 

From roadside I picked up

Two junglee guavas

No I did not eat

One was eaten by a crow

The other one had a pug mark

 

Last night I heard a hyena

Laughing out loud, then it cried

Like a man, in hunger pain

In the morning I saw

Vultures descending

Over Gojiadunguri hills

 

Last year you saw them everywhere

From Darlipada to Kaintapadar

Gliding down in narrowing circles

But now there are only two

They too are dying, like men

For want of carcass

 

You go to Dungiamunda bazaar

For one saree you get two bag potatoes

And the rice there is all moon white

I picked up a sweet potato

From roadside

And the shop keeper barked

 

Like this

 

In Khariabahal they are shooting down crows

With country bows and arrows

They used to spear leopards

In their youth, and spotted deer

Lachhimi Jani’s grandmother told me

Now they are digging up the anthills

In Shitalkhalia

In search of rat snakes

 

In Dumerbahal last night

 Bada Jhankar died

 On the way to Khapurimal

His skull was found in a drain

Filled with cow bones

 

We have got to go now

We have to reach there before evening

Are you listening?

Are you listening?

 

On the road to Sinapali

Two women met

One was long dead

The other one wept.

 

(*** Sinapali is a drought affected region in Kalahandi, Odisha, India.)

 

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