ANCESTORS & AUDITS II

RICHA NAGAR

Daring to remember 

deaths

whose passing

i could not witness

in nakedness

feeling those dead in their nakedness

feels like the hardest political act —

              harder than the hardest alliance-work

              harder than any communion i’ve sought

                                          with souls who live in flesh and blood.

What explanatory frameworks do I choose to know and tell

                            this hardship?

The privileges that make it easier for me to stand with a living other

knowing that becoming one with ‘them’ is almost always impossible?

              Or the impossibility of receiving an assurance that 

              those who live in flesh can

              ever stand responsibly with those who have gone?

Baba

Ba-ba

Two syllables whose meaning

i could not translate

To neither my colleagues, nor friends, nor family

nor paper, nor pen, nor tears

nor airplane officials, nor priests, nor relatives

nor to splinters of childhood memories

that sear my insides 

refuse to vanish

with the weight of histories 

you carried in your brown eyes

histories that i must hurt so hard to own

even though you were always mine.

 

Your caste

hidden, silenced, changed,

unnamed, unuttered

before girls

you bore

with your body

with your sanskars

despite the marks

you hid

they hid

despite blood

that cannot be trusted?

 

Who shall audit the truths

and lies

of castes

casted out

of bodies that toiled

for six decades 

marked with marks

Invisible to those

he bore

with his inauspicious, unblessed sanskars

until he died

thousands of miles away

unaware, unconcerned 

of futile struggles to

translate the

two syllables

made of truths

that have taught me more than anything else

about life

              and death

              In nakedness.

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