The Squab


Darkness descends
Eventually. Inevitably.
The empty day is swallowed whole
By dusk, emptier still.

What do you call a baby pigeon?
(The cavalier question floats into the night)
A diminutive feathered corpse lies motionless
Peaceful in this last light,
Eyes never opened- not once.
Not even to witness the end.

Death arrives in the most precise
Not a second early, not one too late.

But what of those that never
Get to live, to age, to wait.

10-year-old Giulia in Italy,
Buried alive by a quake;

Omran, 5, of Aleppo
Covered in the grime of war and prime-time fame,
13 other kids bombed
In the country with no names;

A little girl blown to pieces
In Afghanistan fields-
Landmines don’t get along with soccer;

Hundreds of migrant childhoods
Washed ashore- lungs filled with the ocean,
The only kingdom with shelter to offer.

Death arrives in the most precise moment.
Not a second early, not one too late.
But what of those
Left behind to ache?

7 thoughts on “The Squab

  1. Pingback: Neeraj's Jottings….

  2. So poignant….so rich in terms of its lyrical beauty….and yet so sad…..The question that you begin with – I know not why you brought it – I read it as an interrogation that is as absurd as the meaningless unjust world we inherit….Death may be precise in terms of time but in terms of its victim, well, not so sure…..


    • Thank you, Sunaina. The baby pigeon question – if you’re referring to that – leads up to the ‘diminutive feathered corpse’ mentioned a line later. The poem came out of the absurdity of death – esp of those who never get to age beyond their childhood – just like the baby pigeon that lay dead in front of me that evening.
      But yes, the absurdity of that question was meant to supplement the absurdity of death itself. Thank you for reading and reflecting on it. 🙂


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