Fading Light

A silent bird flying an uneven course
propelled forward on broad wings,
chased by a rush of shrieking crows --
an owl, rounded, soft-feathered, pale.

It would have been at ease in darkness;
in late afternoon light it faltered,
veered toward a clump of bamboo,
then turned and flew to open ground,
as more crows joined the hunt.

The pitru, our ancestors, are passengers
in crows' bodies, look out of crows' eyes.
They feel the warm world secondhand -
only its strongest touch can reach them:
blood's salt-iron tang,
the slice of talons sinking into flesh,
the harsh echoes of their own despairing cries.

(This poem -- by me -- was published in The Little Magazine, New Delhi, Volume III Issue 3, 2002.)

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