We held the newborns in winter
us boys instrumentalized
with the heat
of our unchanneled metabolisms
wafting from brown skins like
frustrated dreams taking leave
to torment some other innocence
ours too young yet to be dangerous
they sat us in circles
to catch the warmth
and in the forcefields of our
trammeled  futures
we kept the village babies alive. 

by now
My battered body is worth less
than the GE incubators
Finally brought in as was promised
In a developmentalist litany ages repeated
By the unsmiling functionaries
Of the state, after
They, at last, ran out of ways
to waste money on their houses. 

Idols of modernity
mechanical and efficient
that didn’t dissipate heat as despair--
whose warmth sustained
without whispering into
protean little ears
that it’s frozen beyond the circle
that you’d be better off dead
like us?
Before you are rendered obsolete
By the next generation of
Metals mined from the denuded fields
that feed nothing anymore
but the appetites of our visionary rulers.


that was then. these days--
I walk fast at night
like a solitary woman scouring the mental maps
calculating distances to the least dangerous bus stop
I am always fleeing those
demons of the mind and metros
approach with their neon scepters
demanding the nine-digit number
that proves I deserve to exist, same
as the angels of the grave who
challenge newly dead to prove their steadfastness
on the pain of suffocation/
a deportation to purgatory 

Did you escape certain death or an unbearable life?
there is a weight
a value hidden in the difference
that dictates between the parceling out
of mercy packages or baton-beaten concussions
now I know.
To normalize anew this--
still, a bearable life.