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MY TRIBE

 


MY TRIBE

-       K. Satchidanandan (India)

 

The Aztecs of Mexico believe that

Butterflies are the souls of the dead:

From the youth killed in battles to

The mothers dead in labour.

 

My tribe believes that the borders of nations

Have been painted with the blood of

The martyrs of border-wars and

The tears of their mothers. And that God has

No caste nor religion, no gender nor race.

 

Our nation’s border is the sky. It has

Neither rulers nor subjects. Everyone knows

Every language. Woodpeckers speak Spanish

As proficiently as the crows speak Malayalam.

 

 Here anyone can love anyone else, consensually:

Grass can love the worm, the sparrow, moonlight,

Angels can love humans, and memories, dreams.

 

All doors here lie wide open, for cats,

Humans and comets. There is no divide

Between past and present or future. Grammar

Does not stand guard to them.

 

The rite is simple when one of us dies:

We go on sheddingleaves until another is

Born in the tribe. And then spring will come

Without even ringing the doorbell.

 

We are the most ancient tribe on earth,

And the smallest. Our sign is a letter

Carved on a parrot’s wing. We believe

That we will be there as long as there are

Parrots and alphabets on the planet. We

Will be there wherever five people laugh

Together, as one among them, And

Where one person weeps alone.

 

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