Deaths Collected


Aparajita Deb

I was in tenth grade when a pup

with its head concussed

was fussed

over by a pack of rich colony kids.

they fawned over it night and day,

then gave up in disarray

when the vet

pronounced imminent death.

so the starving pup moaned alone

in silent concentric circles

corresponding to societal circles

growing larger

and smaller

till it lay

down to die alone, wrapped

in the food and nonexistent

love it’d shat out,

eye sockets a vacant lot,


the solitude in death

that had so haunted it in life.

in two seconds flat,

the vultures descended,

the cultures descended,

wrapping ‘it’ turned ‘him’,

into a jacket

of emphatic sympathy,

of tears and moans

that could have shamed

its unheard cries of death,

and they lowered it

into a grave full

of grave secrets,

whose fancy stone read,

“here lies Fido”, which

is a lie because Fido

never lied, because Fido

never existed when he was alive.

A sad concussed pup

died alone and cold,

and Fido the lie, was

a new name in Death’s Collective

book of lies

written down with

the nonchalance of deathly calm,

Is death even calm?

Was Camus,

when he wrote the Myth

of Sisyphus and said, in

order to survive, one must

believe Sisyphus happy?

And there was once born an

übermensch named Sisyphus

who happily pushed a rock

up a hill, a continuous process

spelled ‘cunt’ because

a happy Sisyphus existed

only in myth. The real

Sisyphus would’ve been

a sissy, would’ve groaned

under the deathless torture

of his chore, and would’ve

possibly craved to die,

just die, only die, die alone.

but in living death he

was found by the vultures,

erratic, literratic cultures

and they stole from him the

only thing he owned: despair.

One now imagines Sisyphus happy,

and goes on with life,

and another name has been added

in the list of Deaths’ sub head:

Buried Alive.

When the unemployed wretch

around my old family house

situated himself at the base

of a mango tree and begged

for some money for his ailing

wife, a weight machine beside

him, unable yet to weigh

the burdens of

a solitary life, nothing clinked

into his threadbare cap,

that wasn’t coated in disdain

for his pathetic attachment

to his dying wife. the

morning sun blushed

redder than usual when

it lit up the blue face of the

corpse hanging from the

mango tree, or the purple

one lying below.

by first light, spectacled

doctors had gathered to

gather in the spectacle,

collecting money to buy

an expensive shroud for

bodies which would never

be warm again.

such undying love,

they said, should be

buried together, not apart,

and two more names, were

added in the ledger of

Death’s collected heart.

“जिसे जीतेजी तन ढाक्ने को

चीथड़ा तक न मिला,

उसे मरने पर नया कफ़न

नहीं चाहिए।”

But one must firmly believe

in God, Godot will redeem,

will overcome some day,

and maybe reverse the

narrative of pain of

Plath’s head in

the oven, of Jesus on the cross,

of Woolf’s pockets filled

with stones, never as heavy

as her heart, of Narcissus

clawing his face to fucking end his

torturous beauty, of Echo

starved of love, but what echoes

instead is a narrative of

romantic death for

something that is best

described as rot and decay.

they say the one way

to end the meaninglessness

of life, is to end one’s life,

end it alone on one’s own terms.

but it’s like Wonderland’s little

doors: you can never die alone, can never, never tell

what’s on the other end

whether they’ll name you

Jesus, or Scoundrel Christ.

Good cop-bad son, teacher-

gambler, lover-wife beater,

rapist, martyr, murderer, liar, liars

all lying down in deathly lies.

Life is a lonely, lonely

business in which the fittest

too, shall eventually die.

But death is a collective,

of grudges and debts collected,

deaths collected,

a complicit web of lies

that one can’t possibly deny.

Aparajita is of the mind that human beings are receptacles for stories, and that our legacies are determined by how beautifully, sadly, terribly or carefully we weave magic through ours.

Author, Poet, Writer, American, Indian Australian writers
Aparajita Deb
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