Turbans

From the sleepers I get up and go
Past dreams by their inert bodies
Careful not to brush fragile winged
Butterflies of their eyes enacting
Fierce war dramas behind the lids
Their butterfly movements in sync
As in choruses of some tragedies.

Now I survey bodies and turn back
To remove their turbans as trophies
For my own dearest sister who took
A private fancy for their many hues.

At dawn’s crack , bodies will get up
And go, their colored turbans gone,
And their swords drawn for a battle
With below- the- turban knowledge
That dreams are gone with turbans.

(From a scene in the great Indian epic Mahabharata)

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Bodies on fans

We wear our palms on board
And lotuses smell fresh mud.
This monsoon is treacherous
On cotton in a cracked land.
Minds get cracked like land
And bodies disappear in fans.

( Successive droughts in Maharashtra have led to a spate of suicides by cotton farmers)