2 January 2011
Morning dawns in this Kolkata guest house,
Traffic noise slowly mounts,
Toward a growing later crescendo,
Crows scream, ever present in the background,
Of a billion Indian lives,
Struggling for a few rupees each day,
Everywhere in India,
In ordinary hotels and guest houses,
The hotel desk clerk and assistant,
Sleep on the marble floors of the
   Entry way,
Behind the gated door,
Against an uncertain world,
                An unequal world,
                Accepted as reality,
                Protecting guests and house,
While uncertain of the guests,
                Who may wish to evade payment.
                Or take a threadbare towel.
What do we know of the terror
That haunts the heart of man?

*     *     *     *