by Ankush Banerjee
They sing in a different language. Their accompaniments
are tolling bell, monotony and faith. They leave a
trail of mogra and marigold in their wake. They cross a
neighbourhood where women exchange recipes from balconies
and cabbages explode in earthen pots.
I walk with the procession, led by the scent of marigold and sandalwood
incense in the air. An awkward curvature of limb
sprouting a few dead hairs, glimpsed
but not seen
in contours of wet flowers
heralds the strangest paean of
mortality mingling with panic.
They continue to walk
into the sunset, carrying a makeshift bier
that would have served
as a trolley
bearing dead fish or fruits,
A mangy dog chews a few marigold
petals off the road,
spitting them, in disappointment.