Birds Bathing Under a Drainpipe

by Jayant Kashyap

Content warning: sexual assault, violence

            for Naureen Bhat

Elspeth edifies Edith’s wish; walks with her every door that smells of dead elks;
questions the government; kisses raped women; questions

the government; takes

a shower; thinks of Emily’s emails; sends six texts – to say hello; say sorry; say
the police beat two men because they questioned the government; questions

the government;

reads another email; writes to a friend, says it’s been six years now,
you should write about us; suffers period cramps; walks to a nearby café; orders

fries and the occasional chocolate ice cream; smiles; writes a journal entry; titles
it in a difficult India…; reads an article on coronavirus; it says the virus won’t

survive the summers; it says you might be infected already, but the virus may not
kill you; the government calls it a propaganda; questions

the government; writes power shouldn’t make you shit; writes

another email; says we will grab our rights if we’ll have the need to; says if India
were a straightjacket, I’d be the Houdini; questions

the government; makes another

journal entry; imagines birds bathing under a drainpipe; imagines a man
pouting; imagines streetlights glimmering; texts a friend; writes about a beautiful

apartment in London with ‘biggg’ windows; writes about looking stupid; questions

the government; texts back an I love you; texts Edith a hey!