The Bag(h)mati* River

— Haris Adhikari

terribly sickens, with its fetid,
black water. Dead
bodies being cremated…
a little above,
man is all smoke
and nothing.
Flies hover
above the oily water in it.
Half burnt bones
peep from below
the slimy sewage.
Plastic and
empty bottles
float to show their
dented look.
Just below the Lord’s
garbage slide
into the river
that goes—
just like the slow traffic— stinking
all across the Valley… Oh!
This sacred river!
Like a boa, it scares
the elite
people away
but not the scavengers
digging… the decaying garbage
deep… for a day’s meal.


On the way
back home, I heard people
talk about how
many reports, by many people,
were made about it, and how
nothing concrete
came out of them!

Now this gap
is what I’m thinking

What will happen
when webs and
webs of
gaps determine
the course of our
life… and posterity?


*A word play on the Bagmati river (which runs through the Kathmandu Valley); bagh (tiger) and mati (inclination; notion; tendency) speak of the terror created through the river

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