UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY
SANKAR ROY

After the Day’s Combat

Dead soldiers lie on the ground,
side by side, still in their uniforms,
but their spirits being released
from body’s captivity fly low,
close to the ground
like newborn bats,
afraid of falling,
unsure of direction.
Oblivious to the side they took
during the day's skirmish,
two or three spirits
come close to each other
resembling prairie light,
clicking and sniffing,
akin to wild horses, knowing
one another by smell
before wandering off again
into the darkness. At a distance,
in the lamp light, survivors cook
and share pilaf rice.


Blues of the War Torn

If someone lives
through a war,
he may spend the rest
of his life
with a head full of ruins.

He life is an anonymous avenue
in the debris of brick buildings
with broken windows. He wakes up
with a hazy sense of loss.
Upswept litter.

Maybe a knock
on the door.
Maybe a footstep
outside. Maybe
just a stray dog
passing by.

Moment to confront
the agony. Moment to discover
dismembered bodies
under the bridge,
beside the broken church,
hands tied on their backs.
Eyes covered.

Why the dear ones are always the first to go?
No relation is ever here to last.
A hand is bound
to lose its grip.

Clouds rumble like warplanes.
Meadows are full of land mines.
Forever he runs through the rubble.
Paths are paved to shelter refugees.
Food is found in the trash.
Cities are built
to be destroyed. Glasses
are made to be shattered.
Houses are hoisted
to be crumbled.

Trains carry people
like livestock
to be overworked before
being slain.

Night’s sky is a better home
than the barrack room,
since stars would shine
only for tonight.


Sankar Roy, originally from India, is a poet, translator, activist and multimedia artist living near Pittsburgh, PA. He is a winner of PEN USA Emerging Voices, author of three chapbooks of poetry– Moon Country (Pudding House 2006), The House My Father Could Not Build (Pudding House, 2007) and Mantra of the Born-free (Pudding House, 2007). He is an associate editor of international poetry anthology, Only the Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami (Rupa Publication, India and Bayeux Arts, Canada). Sankar's poems have appeared or forthcoming in over forty literary journals including Bitter Oleander, Crab Orchard Review, Connecticut Review, Harpur Palate, Icon, Runes, Rhino and Poetry Magazine. His recent project is creating a multimedia website (www.writersalliance.net ) against the genocide in Darfur. He is a co-founder of Poets for Humanity.







© 2007 Underground Voices