Wednesday, May 5, 2021

A Prayer for the Dying, April 2021 - Mimi Pachuau


My heart breaks into tiny sharp pieces

When I see the morgue vans queuing for hours

Outside crematoriums…imagine, just imagine

Being one of the drivers

He must wonder if, or when

He may be the cold passenger…

He may not even be lucky enough to make it there

Like so many, the pavement could be his ending.

My skin no longer feels like mine

For there is death in the air

The Indian summers of the past seem mellow

Compared to the heat today,

The very air we now breathe

Is mixed with the smoke from funeral pyres

It is ironic that we breathe the remains

Of those who have died because they couldn’t breathe.

My Delhi is gasping for oxygen but it’s in short supply.

I’ve never felt this small in my life

As I earth these big prayers for my India

For the lakhs of Covid cases found every day

For the thousands dying each day,

For the crumbling healthcare system,

For children going hungry at night,

For our burning forests in the hills,

For our leaders who are overwhelmed,

For some who just don’t seem to care,

For your children who are like a speck of dirt in this enormous country.


Kyrie Eleison - Lord, have mercy!

May the ashes from the funeral pyres turn to crown of beauty

May you release waves of healing across this land.


Mimi Pachuau wrote this on the 25th April 2021 when the entire world looked on in horror as the Covid situation in India spiralled out of control and we saw picture after picture and video after video of smoking funeral pyres and people dying while gasping for oxygen. For Mimi, Delhi is her second home as she spent several years there, first as an English Honours student at Lady Shri Ram College and later as an MA student at the Delhi School of Economics. She later received a Ph.D. from Mizoram University and had a stint working in the Sociology department at Mizoram University. She very rarely writes poetry. 

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