Clad in dirty torn knickers
And reeking of cheap liquors,
The man in charge of the pyre
Let loose on me his drunken ire.
“Where wast thou all these days?
So busy couldn’t reach even for the blaze?
And now that he is merely ashes,
What good are your wet lashes?”
As the wind blew up the dust,
The undertaker spat out in disgust,
“His sons were at each other’s throats,
To decide who would pay my efforts.
The daughters were splitting the spoils,
Without a look at father’s mortal coils.
And the village folk’s concern very simple-
- Dispose the carcass and re-open the temple.”
Seeing my eyes moist, he softened in a flash,
Handed me gently a fistful of the hot ash;
Muttered softly, “I know not who you are,
But you deserve this for you have come afar”
At this I started sobbing loudly;
How to explain to this man, so kindly,
That the ashes he thrust in my palms,
Were his who comforted me in his arms.
That he was the only human among the beasts,
Respected me though I was from the streets.