Riot

The known neighborhood has become
Unknown even to its residents.

They fail to fathom why a prayer
House was burnt down.

“Outsiders”, they whisper vandalized
The seat of God.

They were afraid of being ‘targeted’,
So they kept mum – the locals mumble.

They come from all religion and have lived in peace
And are still living in peace, but shops are set on fire.

“ ‘Outsiders’, ‘Outsiders’; they have done the damage,”
They say under their breath, scared to speak aloud.

Some vacate their homes and scurry with their
Belongings for safer places.

The ‘war’, the ‘riot’ has been thrust on them,
They accuse!

Police at places stand as mere spectators!
It’s a ‘pogrom’,
Pundits declare.

Now peace shall return walking over dead bodies
Lying in stony silence, in the city morgue!

Can you say what religion the dead bodies
Belong to?

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Pranab Ghosh is a journalist, writer, poet, translator and blogger. His blog is “Existential Problems”. His poems and prose have been published by several on=line publications including Dissident Voice, Spillwords, The Piker Press, Setu Magazine, Pangolin Review, Visual Verse, etc. Pranab has coauthored a book of poems, titled Air & Age; a translation of a book of Bengali short stories, “Bougainvillea and Other Stories” (English translation title). His second book of poems and first solo book, “Soul Searching and Other Poems” (2017), was published by Scarlet Leaf Publishing, Toronto. His second collection of poems, “Vision of the World and Other Poems”, was published by Impspired.com in November 2020. Read other articles by Pranab.