Bad Indian

Photo: Randall Honold. CC0/Public domain.

Mother says not to make it political 
why don’t you write like Neruda whom I read  
in my youth and loved  
and believed in love  
through him
mom neruda was a rapist  
and this poetry  
writes me, really.  
Really who has the luxury anymore, of  
believing in love, or the audacity,  
when the earth is burning? And 
everyone is blaming  
the fire on the infidels. if only, we burnt  
away the infidels. It seems otherness  
sells, and so does delusion, and all the good  
people of this land think the way out of the fire  
is by burning those people.  
Hence, it must be so. If you think about it,  
it’s a masterstroke  
really; to make everyone feel unindian  
ungodly unworthy of birth or land. 
To unbelong one from oneself with a chasm so deep  
so as to dissect them –  
unless they pick a sword  
and slit, instead, those people that dare  
to live and look different  
or love different or god forbid, 
pray different. Mother, I swear,  
I sat down to write about a love I felt once  
which was so true, but how could it remain apolitical  
when truth is revolt. So tonight, I can write  
the saddest lines – I am no longer  
in recognition or belonging of this land  
of Azad. or this faith. and when  
all of us are burning together, and our arms  
carry saffron embers over etchings of those people,  
we will go to our respective heavens  
or angels or rebirths,  
and shout soundlessly into endless skies  
just how good we were.  

Categories Poetry

Srishti Jain is an Indian poet and physiologist based in Sydney. Her work reflects a personal representation of diaspora identity, vulnerabilities as a person of colour, as well as love and belonging in a fast, unforgiving world. Her work has been published in various literary journals such as Red Ogre Review, Rigorous, The Cancer Researcher, Meniscus, Clepsydra- Literary and Art Magazine. Her poetry on climate justice can be found in the streets of Dublin as part of The Bohemian Way campaign.

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