Lynching is…historically, a ritual that explicitly enforces the outcaste status of its victims…Lynching’s particular vocabulary—the social air to its undertaking, the near-ceremonial bloodshed, the display of the mutilated body in triumph—belongs to the category of crime committed by men against those they see as property. As a punishment, it is a work of collective fiction: a gang of imagined victims wreaking vengeance on an imagined criminal in an inversion of the truth.
—Supriya Nair, “The Meaning of India’s ‘Beef Lynchings.’”
system says we’re not in charge of much else
but this. system’s [planter’s raj] & the damn
tea. the Brits sell us, Lipton sells us, Tata
sells us. when are we permitted to unload?
system says when crops dry, some liquid
must let. there’s the trance of their girlhood
songs. children hungry as ever in streets. &
as far as the eye can muster, those two-toned
leaves. system doesn’t care to convince us
daayans exist. we see their jaher era : the only
plants here in bloom. system says the earth is
parched, & look who [fetches] our [firewood],
our [fruits, vegetables]. we know [the needs of]
our [community], gather to drink, discuss
the magic we see. when we go, the women
dress in our clothes, practice incantations.
what can we do but band together, find
some [fellowship], [hunt]? goats zag down
now-rocky slopes, using branches as footholds,
slipping anyway—no [high rainfall], no [red]
[soil]. this is the life we have all fallen into.
system says it’s an [honor] to [serve].