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Selection 6 of

Hunger on M.G. Road

by Sunita Fernandes

in the dappled
street corner
under the shady spread of
the gulmohar tree
ablaze with orange-red may blooms,
raucous shouting
mingles
with gay mirth and
enchanted squeals from the
smallest.


street children
played.


mothers and fathers
some,
but children all.
fighting ferociously, fiercely
with smouldering hearts
of
sulphurous fire.
a necessity to see through the day.
stay alive through the night
without
thought for tomorrow.
without understanding of
hope.


a small face.
was
cherubic then.
now dusty, etched and lined
with an age of pain.
innocence and naivety abandoned.
piece of
red-brown-now-almost-black
cloth
makes frail endeavours to
cover portions
of a slight smelly
body.


breasts
small, like a child's.
eyes pranced with
every gaze.
pride and joy carved
deep into
pained edges,
to soften her
face.
body droop-sagged
forward with the
weight of her doll-like baby
at
her uncovered
breast.
soft glistening black hair
now
matted and brown.
sucking with bare energy.
a thin crooked line of blood
creeps slowly
around dry-cracked and sore
nipples.


mother she is, but
a child more -
at
thirteen


Author's Note: This poem is based on the anger, helplessness, frustration and sadness that I feel every time I see the group of street children that live on M.G Road in Bangalore where I live. There are no adults, just these children who live together on the street.

S.F.

Selection 6 of


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