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Virus* (For Sylvia Plath)

Virus* (For Sylvia Plath)

Poem By Shimanta Bhattacharyya

(On first viewing a computerized image of the foot and mouth virus)

I hardly look like the rose:
The inflorescent crown

Unfurls its horny petals
In all weathers.

My colours erupt on the skin
In a conflagration of volatile tattoos—

Vivid! Diabolical! Motley!
They are comelier than those that sprout

In the genitals of your ancestors
And bosoms of holy men.

I am not ornamental:
I do not adorn the lapels of your jacket—

I only smoulder
Where the heart once blazed.

A carnivore, I fatten
On the thin sap of the human animal.

I am neither male nor female:
Virile to the tips of my corolla,

I tread down all creatures
In a silent march of hungry midgets

On a million tiny feet!
Unlike the rose—

I am absolute.

.

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