Casualties
by Rumjhum Biswas


Once, when we were children
a boy came
to play in our garden.
While our mothers enjoyed
tea and gossip undisturbed.
He was unruly. Rude.
He deserved the dunking
we gave him in the lily pond.
Afterwards
he chased dragonflies
and ladybugs. Caught them,
and tore off their wings,
legs, feelers.
“Off with his head!”
we cried in mimicry.
But he ignored us.
Didn’t run crying
to his mother.
He just kept going.

By the end of the evening
there were more dead
insects than flowers
in our otherwise immaculate garden.






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