Saranya Subramanian


after the riots


the streets                    long sticks of chocolate

drizzled           with blood       sticky and sweet

skullcaps now             in pieces          covering


drains and pebbles                  rid them of their sins

placards           bruised and aged         some

with sharper                sticks               stuck in bodies


bursting through bodies          bodies              half-open

half-closed                  intestines scribbled and

splattered         on the streets               weakly echoing



uteruses           bloody             bitten and        pulled out

of their homes             splayed out for


all to see                      burnt breasts               hungry

toddlers crawl over                 charred teats

worry not                    we will milk them       with


cow’s milk      time to clean up the streets     anyway

bring the cows             bring the matas           bring

ganga jal and bring                 your prayers


bring                your badge your          baton   bring

your flag                     your language your                 song

we will clean up                      the mess          worry not


we       will rewrite     the story of the streets

bring them all out                   bring the saffron         bring

the soldiers      let us take back           what is ours


it’s time                       to clean up                   the streets


Saranya Subramanian is a writer and theatre practitioner based in Bombay. She currently works at Radio Mirchi and is a prospective MFA in Writing student at the University of San Francisco. In her free time she eats chocolate and watches Madhubala’s movies (sigh). And lastly, she writes because, well, it’s all that she can really do.

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