Smitha Sehgal
In the name of peace

Last night 
I attended God’s funeral.
God was washed 
and clothed in blue,
adorned in garlands 
woven from blood roses. 
I had come from far away.

Maggots gnawed on the ripe wounds 
of  God, 
discussing faith. I retched.
God’s face was younger 
than what I had imagined 
in my prayers. 

Rummaging through God’s shelf of books 
I discovered an old bound volume-
Lal Ded.
God may have read poetry. 
Folded away in a corner 
lay a Memorandum of Peace.

Here I was the First Party
God made no representations 
or warranties as the Second Party. 
The indemnity clause required me 
to suffer the sins of my previous lives.
Of burning down villages, 
of rivers bloodied, of slaughtered
of muffled and violated women.

It read that a flower plucked 
could incite a war. 
Echo failings of Sun. 
The thickening syrup of arsenic fever 
danced on my tongue.

Smitha Sehgal is a legal professional and a bilingual poet who writes in English and Malayalam. Her poems have been featured in contemporary literary publications such as Ink Sweat & Tears, Tiger Moth Review, Almost Island, Gone Lawn Journal, The Indianapolis Review and elsewhere. Her collection of poems ‘How Women Become Poems’ has been released recently by Red River.

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