Indran Amirthanayagam

Two Poems

Orbit: The Asian American Issue
Volume 15:3, Summer 2014

Memo (About Ordnance)

The biodegradable bomb
causes no collateral
damage if left
unexploded
in a field
when the war ends.

Raindrops
will strike the
material into
effervescence
and farmers can
till again assured.

In this age
of restoring science—
flying cars and
sequestering carbon
at a healthy clip—
we should devote

resources
to the unpleasant
but necessary task
of assuring our weapons
supply, that it keeps
to current ethical

standards, that future
killing by the State
will be precise, targeted,
not tied to elections
in this country or abroad,
and biodegradable.

 

Fire Department

Where is your village?
Burning.

Where is your village?
Mined fields.

Where is your village?
Blasted in crossfire,

wounded under
jungle trees.

Where is your village?
Running across

marshes, shot
in the back.

Where is your village?
Waving white flags

frisked, registered,
supervised in a camp.

Where is your village?
Blowing up army

friskers,
other villagers.

Where is your village?
Toronto, Berlin,

Tamil Nadu.
Where is your village?

Madagascar as option
has not been discussed.

Where is your village?

Hasta la vista,
Special Envoy!

Where is your village?
Burning.

 

Indran Amirthanayagam writes poetry in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole. He is the author of sixteen books of poems, including Coconuts on Mars (Paperwall, 2019), Uncivil War (TSAR Publications, Canada, 2013), and the Paterson Prize-winning The Elephants of Reckoning (Hanging Loose, 1993). Amirthanayagam is a past fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts, the US/Mexico Fund for Culture, and the MacDowell Colony. He curates the reading series Poetry at the Port at Port au Prince Restaurant in Silver Spring, MD and serves on the Board of DC-ALT. His website: www.indranmx.com.