September is the cruelest month, babu
We are daily labourers
We are kiln workers
We are domestic maids
We are casual agricultural hands
It is a lean season, babu
And we are pushed to the walls
Of seasonal hunger and recurring wounds
We sell pots and pans
And keep our empty stomachs at bay
It is the month of diarrhea and diseases of skin, babu
Construction sites, fields and brick kilns
Are quietly sleeping
Where do we find work?
Harvesting has not begun yet
And we have no plots to harvest either
But bazaar burns us
Whatever we collect at day’s end
Goes to buy atta, rice and dal
Babu, in September nobody beats drum for us
Shiuli is scentless, and even
Kaash flowers forget to dance for us.
September is preceded by countrywide cries against NRC,
Delhi riots, slashed limbs in gutters, pandemic horrors,
Farmers’ protest and barren yards of four hundred plus peasants,
Job losses, downsizing!
September sky is still filled
With hate speeches of muscles flexing thugs,
The air is thickened with false promises,
Treacherous winds and armies of dead nights.
Abu Siddik teaches at Plassey College, West Bengal, India. He is a bilingual author and has been published in India and abroad. He has three critical books— Representation of the Marginalized in Indian Writings in English (Falakata College Cell, 2015), Misfit Parents in Faulkner’s Select Texts (Authorspress, 2015), Banglar Musolman (Sopan, 2018); two poetry books and a short story, published by Authorspress in 2020 —Rugged Terrain, Whispering Echoes, A Birdwatcher and Other Stories. Website: www.abusiddik.com