There are no sinkholes darker than those coloured with coal

Subsidence in Talcher

When husband comes home from a day of quarrying, his fingers
draw a sooty line of love on the bright, soft forehead of his young,
his lips eager to transfer the dark meanings of his world on to
the new-born: mouthing coal like a bird-syllable. Wife works
the stove–the smell of charred wood-smoke rises like an ancestor
who died in the coalfields, now blackening their roti with holes.
Wife stares at the depression in the earth’s cavity laying bare in
her kitchen floor like an omen of something she cannot foresee.
At the colliery, the workers speak in whispers about closures and
the possibility of Brahmani flooding like a black goddess, reclaiming
her black-diamonds. After sundown, when teens are bored, they pretend
to stow sand in all the craters of their land, saving their ghost-town fates,
bucket by bucket.

Kunjana Parashar is a poet living in Mumbai. She holds an MA in English Literature from Mumbai University. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in BorderlandsUCity ReviewOkay DonkeyDovecoteHomology Lit,and elsewhere. You can find her on Twitter @wolfwasp.

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