Trees of utter lies,
leaves of flames,
flowers of ash.
Lead me, someone, out of this forest.

I have wandered forever,
carrying a couple of damp words,
stumbling across steam-blinded tracks,
feet slashed by
rusted vessels, broken tiles, half-cooked meals,
tattered clothes, roofless screams, broken bones,
stooped bodies that turn to stone when you touch them.

I roam every day
like a ghost from some stammering past
or some endlessly hungry, never appeased
unknown evil deity
blind to himself,
a lost sun
or death.
From these woods
of ulcerous, oozing, burning, cracked mirrors
lead me, out of this forest.

Poet's Note: This poem is from ‘Khandit Kand’, a cycle of poems written after the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992.