Kids Corner







Night shift:

He separates smells with ease

Dust of pesticide enfolds him

like ivories

Entangled in Carbide's empire

my son, the mechanic, labors on


Outside on famished footpath

groundnut fire keeps me warm,

I, the night watchman, I

wait for sound of siren

to bring my son back from harm




It leaked...


Do I know?

I only know it leaked

And dwarfed me in odor

pungent with carrion spit, rat shit, wild onion

Swelled my eyes with offensive vision

I cannot imagine my son


in lines of perverse production



This must be dark kalyug:

Naked substance zigzags my city

out of Warren Anderson’s gas

chambers. Atoms rise

to roam the bazaars in turned-out toes, and

baric blue nipples

Invisible clouds kiss cartography, grasshoppers, pages of Gita,

but clot earth's inherited laughter


Gas reddens in the throats of crowds, screams,

holds its braids by the aching gamin

There it mixes its own breath

in the breath of half-living lungs,

discolors soles, disfigures wombs, mutates shadows

Here it pierces a chemist's tongue,

desecrates human sorrows


Still unsatisfied

it boards dizzy trains

Shawled in a run-away reaction

chokes another ninety-thousand

then clears off unquestioned


Soon I'll cremate his cyanide eyes, my son's long

hydrocarbon remains, Soon

(in a poison beautiful world)

the un-renewable

human song


Jaspreet Singh’s latest book “Helium” is published by Bloomsbury.

December 3, 2014

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