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Bombay Riots, December, 1992
We stood by quietly as the mosque fell. Or was pulled.
The celebration turned riot and all the idols
lay decapitated at Nirmal Nagar. The elephant
god without an elephant head. Even without
the cold, we shivered. The buses around
us enshrined in flames. Who could tell
which temple was falling, and when? Of course,
we were in Jogeshwari when we found them.
The sickles. Iron rods flaking dark red chips
into the dirt. The Constable face-down
in the garbage. Seventy-two times
we intervened. Seventy-two times we killed
and were killed. Standing over us, the attackers
mocked. Where’s your army now, they said,
and we did not have an answer.
This poem was one of the winners of the 2013 "Discovery" Poetry Contest.
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