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Tuesday, September 13, 2016


by A.K. Das

A day after a tribal man had to walk 10 km carrying his wife’s body on his shoulder in Odisha’s Kalahandi (India) after failing to get a vehicle from a government hospital, a probe was ordered Thursday to ascertain the circumstances which led to the incident. Image source: The Indian Express, August 25, 2016.

The snow-white body, red beacon, siren
fitted on the top,
the ambulance waits at the hospital’s gate
for emergency calls.

A tribal man pedaling his pregnant daughter
to hospital, bringing back home
the mother and her newborn
again on his bicycle;

a poor laborer walking on foot,
dead body of his wife on his shoulder,
his little daughter following behind
in teary, stunned silence;

two men carrying on a dangling pole
a load of mangled, broken corpse
of a woman;

they all call frantically—
but no ambulance for them.

Yet the snow-white body, red beacon, siren
fitted on the top,
the ambulance waits patiently
at the hospital’s gate
for an emergency call from a VIP –

ready to move out,
speeding, blaring, flashing red light
through the snarling traffic.

A.K. Das, a retired civil servant in India, has had three books of poetry published: Another Voyage, Skyline Aglow, and Cherry Trifle.