• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 02
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Raise Your Eyes

‘Don’t raise your eyes,’
‘Don’t come near, stand at a hailing distance,’
‘Don’t pollute our air with your breath,’
‘Don’t enter our temples,’
‘Don’t drink from the well we draw water,’
‘Don’t dream of wearing a sandal,’
‘Don’t dare make a pukka house,’
‘Don’t dream of being buried in our graveyard,' they say.
‘What did I do wrong?’ You whisper, standing at a hailing distance, eyes on the ground.
‘Don’t ask questions, you untouchable.’ They yell and laugh like a hyena.
You raise your eyes and move closer. You see them shudder.
‘No, you have no rights. You’ll be punished.’ They howl. Beneath their conceit, you see fear crawling on them. You inch closer.
‘Go away, shoo.’ Now their pride turns to panic.
Your heart pounds as if it would jump out of your body. Your nerves tighten as if they would snap. Your sweat smells of copper.
You reach them, and they jump up from their ivory throne.
In a swish, they are all gone.
You know they will never return.
You just sit there, on the ground, filling your lungs with freedom, your eyes raised to the skies.