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A Hundred Gourds 4:1 December 2014

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page 11  

Kala Ramesh - India


The Burden of Silence


I hear a child whimpering . . .

The black tar road shimmers with the heavy rain we've had since morning. Each lamppost creating a mockery of the halo around the bulb. The darkening street comes alive, responding to something in the air, like the burden of silence in a courtroom before the verdict is announced.

Again, this whimpering sound . . . The child utters a name in between other obscure sounds. Curled on the road I see a woman in a sari, deep red in patches. A hit and run case. A gang rape. I dig into my sling bag for the cell phone. I need to call the police. But, I hesitate. Do I have the time and space to be dragged into this ruthless act?

The ticking seconds juxtapose my heartbeats. I dial 100.

withered branches
stirring colours
within me
the present becomes my past
running into my future



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