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Seeking an Explanation

by Rahana K Ismail
(Calicut, india)

Why did you do that, woman?
Distressed; fish out of water
Flailing fins, lashing tail
Can’t breathe
What’s causing this?
Unprecedented; unpredicted
Vultures soared up sated.

Why did you do that, woman?
Appalled; how callous!
How could they do it?
Why would they do it?
The morality of it- rather the immorality of it
To barge in
Alert: perpetrator identified
(The robotic beep)
Disgruntlement build-up
Dam of deluge
The vultures savored the stricken face
Tear streaks, gashes on the heart.

Why did you do that woman?
They need an answer
From her
She stared goggle-eyed, gobsmacked
Words failed her
She stood dumbfounded
The deer caught in the headlights
Cackles of ridicules rang loud
Raucous crows reverberated
Drowning her whimpers
Vultures sniggered, triumphant

Why did you do that, woman?
Bewildered: unbidden questions
Yet, needs to answer
Flustered: with a butterfly for a heart
A clarinet for a mouth
Rummaged in the Sack of Excuses
(Which she bought the day before)
Mumbled a reply: a trickle of words
Like a city facing drought
Dry, parched, desolate
Vultures take heart; swoops down
For the kill
Bloody claws; razor beaks.

Why did you do that, woman?
Still bewildered; unasked for
The butterfly-for-a-heart fluttered furiously
Her clarinet-for-a-mouth uttered
An explanation
(which she had already sought out
From the Bag of Excuses)
She thought
This would be enough
For them- the vultures
Turned out, it was not enough
For them- the vultures
They scoffed at her explanation
Hoots of derision
Howls of contempt
The vulture eyes glinted blood, maliciously
Smirked with satiety.

Why did you do that, woman?
Not surprised any more
Inured; emboldened even
Ready with a well-researched reply
A neatly stacked manuscript
Fished out of the Bag of Excuses
With anecdotes, life experiences
Academic surveys, studies
Research papers
She recognized them
By their flapping wings, leathery
And bare necks, unfeathery
Their eyes were fierier
Their claws more penetrating
They lashed out in violent tones
Like fanatics ravaging
Having the last laugh

Why did you do that, woman?
Her butterfly heart had sprouted prickles
Her clarinet mouth had learned its bass tones
She was waiting crouched like a tiger
Not the deer caught in the headlights
Jibe for a jibe
Jeer for a jeer
Flashed her sword
Slashed each word
(She traded the Bag of Excuses for a scabbard)
The vultures fought back violently
As she waged forth valiantly
Mangled heart
Bleeding soul

Why did you do that, woman?
She didn’t hear them
If she did, she didn’t care
Her clarinet-mouth sang its clarinet song
For her butterfly-heart
Which flitted all day long
No Bag of Excuses
No swords, no scabbard
She didn’t see the vultures waiting
In a nook
For she was busy in her world
Without questions
Without answers.


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