(This brief ghazal is dedicated to Disha Salian and Sushant Singh Rajput who met their gruesome ends in the city of Mumbai, circa 2020.)
Who sutured up these gashes, these wounds, in the shallows of the night?
Bid the guardians of the square to set up the gallows of the night?
There are a thousand shades of hunger in that metropolis of treacheries,
Punters prowl on tiptoes, feast on livers, in the shadows of the night.
When the jury becomes the butchers, the butchers dress up as the jury,
It’s the naked lust of the bestial, brazen bedfellows of the night.
Ravaged and hurled down a tower, unclad and cold in a mortuary,
The liveried fiddlers scrubbed her off like the tallows of the night.
It’s been aeons the half-dead tree has waited for shoots on its skeleton,
Dreaming of what once was a canopy, a verdant mallow of the night.
Uma, do you remember the song of joy as distinct from the mourning?
Ravens rend the boulevard, masquerade as swallows of the night.