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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 1, March 2015


Paresh Tiwari
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The dark

The city is a long tortuous maze of gully cricket, flea-ridden mongrels, crumbling paan stalls, and video-game parlours with purple curtains. Clad in loose cotton tunics we scavenge firecrackers from heaps of empty shells a day after Diwali, chase paper kites over the rooftops huddled under a winter sun, and wait for steam engines to leave flattened nickel coins in their wake.

The mornings pass by in the chalk dust of inverse square roots and lab coats steeped in the pungence of sulphur. The smell of heartbreaks and rum-topped Campa Cola bottles edges into 3-D comics with buxom crime-fighters and hurried masturbations in narrow toilets.

winter night
fractured in the call
of a coyote

The city would have remained the same but for the afternoon that melts into papier-maché demons.

Two hundred kilometers away a mosque is desecrated. The police sirens wail through limewashed walls and bolted doors before letting the city slip back into its graveyard silence. By night the TV news loses its teeth but the rumours grow darker.

In the blind hallways, women and children huddle up in a mass-less grey. The men gather on rooftops with bricks, knives, and wooden staves. Wordless voices drift in on the cold December winds, growing louder and sharper like the edges of a serrated knife.

In the asphyxiating fog the women who are raped and the men who rape them cry out in the name of the same God. The night bleeds in clotted shadows of burnt homes, severed heads, and open graves.

curfewed dawn
a sparrow hops by
the burnt-down bus



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