Strike- Arathy Asok


The farmers held
Dead rats in their mouths,
Wearing green loin clothes
Hiding what is left of their pride.

They sit in the capital city
Waiting for some eyes to open,
They sit for days
Unblinking at the cold.

Far away in distant lands
Their crops have withered in the heat.

Their children look at open skies with empty stomachs.

Cattle stray among stubs of what was once green.

The women with water at their hips look into a far horizon for a dusty bus
That will return the men,
Who left heir huts incomplete.

To death

I should not have played with you,

You seemed like life,
You seemed to return all that I had left
At the door of the desert,
(Which was mine
Without holding back.)

Tell me.

When you smiled and bade me enter
Could you not have said
That one day
You would take it all
Without even a single trace?


Did it not hurt you,
To stand alone in the cross,
When that beast in robes
Fed himself into the little girl?

Did you not want to call out loud,
To pull your hands, your legs,
From the nails that pinned you?

Did you not bleed then the tears you could not cry?


She must have heard you,
In pain,
And thought
You do not live.

(this is a poem based on case reported where a minor was found pregnant and the one accused was the priest. He was later found guilty and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. This is also to remember all the little ones, boys and girls, mutilated sexually by the powerful ones in religion)



In Chala market
The women who sold fish sat in the dark, that evening.

Their hands bulged out when they sat on the stone
Their legs dangling beneath them.

Oily hair above faces and voices that rang out in the evening heat,
They ate ripe jackfruit before wiping it on the slippery fish.

And suddenly the candles light the corners
The women and the fish
Rising up in prayer.

(Chala is a place in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India)

About the contributor

Arathy Asok traces her roots to Thalassery in Kerala, India. Her new book of poems Lady Jesus and other poems was published this year. ( Authors Press, Delhi). Her poems have appeared in national and international journals.

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