Refuse Ghazal

The woman begs to cover her husband’s body
with a blanket, but the police refuse—

Their daughter sits on the curb, wailing into her hands.
Someone will try to pull her away, say Shh; she will refuse.

A train whistle cuts through the rain. Leaves quiver and mix
with shadows in the alley— the only witnesses that won’t refuse.

Everyone else averts their eyes: the duck egg vendor, the drunk,
men out for a smoke; late night owls at the bar. All refuse.

Mid-October, near dawn. The pedicabs ghost away. Tinny rattle,
gravel spray. How many deaths as of today? The mind wants to refuse

these horrors. The MO’s like this: two masked men on a motorbike ride
up to their target. Shots ring out. Every day, bodies pile up like refuse.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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