Radio Burning 

Members of the house, all hundred of you, ambush the kitchen at 8 am. Spilled tea, the misery of torn bread, the rib cage of cat on top of table…all rise, I am the queen and I am here to organise this mess…you pick her by the skin and her crown crashed as you threw her out of the house. The radio plays in the background of your morning rituals. You may have sung along softly as you disappear into the carbon tales of your city.

Fire burning I did not see.

The radio did not translate the language of action. Only numbers repeat from the cupboard of my little Jaintia town where the radio sat like a television. We watched the sound of numbers…men, women and children dead and I thought of your city as a burning one. In my memory of the thought of you, I remember the image of perpetual winter evening and cowsheds engulfed by an orange fire. I was afraid of you, until I know how to remember the next time I visit, nothing is burning. Members of the house. 8 am. Tea. Bread. Mess. Cat.

Members of my father’s house, languages mix like the marriage of clattering utensils. Members of the house, you folded your mats and gave yourself up to another religion. Members of the house, let us not pretend that we are one thing and one thing alone. Together we brewed in the cauldron of that kitchen or have you chosen to forget? We will never be just one thing again. Never again will there be enough to burn to purify the impure in us.

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Amanda C. Tongper Written by:

Poet from Shillong

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