Up above, a lone ceiling fan
Creaks heavy with resignation,
Offering little respite to
The bodies huddled underneath,
Clamoring for space
On the slatted wooden benches.
In the great hall nearby, convened
Ordinary humans, tasked with the extraordinary.
Dressed in black garb, white collars,
And an all-important air,
They make a living out of blurring lines,
Molding the truth,
And finding the grey areas
That best suited their agenda.
As time wears on in the echoless chamber,
Exhaustion spills out in a hundred little ways.
While some guard themselves with masks and sanitizer
And a phone to keep their hands busy,
Others’ anger becomes pronounced by
Beating of chests, hurling of curses,
Howling, bawling cries,
Directed at the little old lady,
Dressed in black, seated above the rest,
A pedestal fan beside her.
She looks on in disinterest,
As a lesser mortal escorts
The now weeping individual out.
Another one would be here by tomorrow.
They are a motley crowd and yet,
None are here of their own accord.
Desperation is worn the same by everyone —
Sweat and tears intermingle,
As dreams built not so long ago,
By a younger, more hopeful version of themselves,
Come crashing down,
Like a house built in haste,
On unsteady ground.
Now, no words remain to be said.
Thoughts, stifled by the monotonous call of
Names, numbers and years,
Are now indistinguishable, amidst
The slow humdrum of ‘justice’ being served —
A little here, some there,
A little delayed by another six months,
If you are lucky,
And a lot, by years,
If you aren’t.
What is justice,
If not an attestation
To the human tendency to seek order
Of trying to set things right,
As soon as they
In a little room tucked away,
Squeals and shouts of children
Fill the air.
Unaware of their parents’ differences,
They play, finding friends
To build new games, rules,
Winners and losers.
There are no winners or losers
In the echoless chamber, however.
I sit in silence,
A song to calm me,
Its verses, steadying and centering me,
Reminding me of my own breath,
Which at times, had faltered,
But was yet to give up.
All this, for two minutes
With the little old lady,
Who had by now,
Retired to her AC room.
She hardly met my eye
As we bowed down.
And, with a single flourish of her pen,
She granted me my modicum of justice,
My own patch of blue sky,
That had colored my dreams vividly,
For over a year now.
Outside the echoless chamber,
Time sped on, like it always does.
A light afternoon breeze
Played with my hair,
And I found myself smiling,
And saying the same words
Over and over again —
Note: This poem is my first attempt at writing using the ‘defamiliarization’ technique. I find that I write best, when writing from experience. What do you think this poem is about? Let me know how you liked it and drop me an e-mail at email@example.com, if you would like to connect!