She’s Human

‘She’s human!’
As we sat awaiting a train,
In a hazy cross-walk,
She made her way.
Inebriated was she?
I could not tell.
Draped in a saree,
Tucked up at her waist,
Wrinkles stamping her age,
On her weary face.
The closer she got,
More scorns she received.
Faces convoluted in revulsion,
But unfazed, she seemed.

With an earnestness,
She continued to ask,
For what the society had failed,
To provide her with.
My gaze I could shift not,
As she overtly walked up to me.
My bag I rummaged,
Felt some coins and a toffee,
The accepted change,
And handed it over to her.
An explicable joy I read,
In her sunken eyes,
A smile inadvertently divine,
Revealing her remnant teeth.
She held her palms together,
In gratitude, so sincere.
Then, as I sat unable to inch,
She took my hand in hers,
And embedded in it a kiss.
A little forward she leaned,
Fondled me in a little hug.
Unbelievingly, I sat there frozen,
As she moved on.
Friends of mine, I noticed,
Had moved away,
In fear of her touch.
But all I felt strangely,
Was love.
Love that she gave me involuntarily.
Love that my own grandma,
Wouldn’t give me.
Love that I wished to have then,
From my parents,
Who lived seas away.
Love that a man said,
Could not be mine.
Love that we have forgotten,
To give to other human beings.
I stared back with tears,
Inhibiting my sight,
At my peers,
To see stares of horror.
One offered me a sanitizer,
To wipe away the dirt,
Of the kiss I had received,
From the tattered stranger,
A dreamy messiah of love.
As disgust and anger seethed,
Through my veins,
At the sight of the actual dirt,
In the hearts of the humans around me,
I managed to blurt out,
In my voice broken,
As shattered as I was,
‘She’s human!’

~Akshatha Ilangovan


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