He came to the city while still a child
He serves me my half-glass of tea
As I wait for my bus to arrive
He swats the flies, smiles at me

He lays out some shriveled fruit
On a mat on the sidewalk, to sell
He offers to wipe my windshield
For a coin or two, then wishes me well

He brings me flags and whirligigs
Little amusements at a traffic light
He balances a pan of wet concrete
On his head, at a construction site

He sits patiently and shatters
Granite rocks in the scorching sun
As they build a new expressway
For our shiny new cars to run

I read daily the news of his woes
I tut-tut, mustering all sincerity
He has a face, a name, a family
Yet he is only a migrant to me

I lament, loudly, my loss of freedom
Knowing full well I am safe and secure
Amid the sturdy beams and girders
Of my routine’s stable structure

I have my refuge – he has none left
The warren he lived in was taken away
He lost his living – that was weeks ago
He hangs on to life – it’s all he has today

He sits under a tree, rubs his tired feet
He thinks about the miles they must walk still
I think of him – I tremble with grief and guilt
If I can gift him these useless feet, I so gladly will

15 thoughts on “Migrant

  1. Made me cry, then made me mad at all my well-heeled neighbors who blame the migrants for spreading disease (read: make the government look bad), then made me cry.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bharath, if only they had been allowed to go home in a more orderly manner while the disease was not yet raging the way it is now (we had 618 cases on March 25th, and 13 deaths), we would have a different, much better, story to tell. This is a man-made tragedy. There is no doubt about it in my mind. And even today, while they assure us that there are adequate facilities in the aggregate, an empty ICU bed in Gummidipundi, Andhra Pradesh, does nothing for a patient in Mumbai who is being turned away in critical condition.


  2. Really pathetic, Holmes- you did capture it very well. Hope the situation improves for these unfortunate souls!!


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