Are You Even There?

Are you even there
to see what’s become of us?
I never expected much from
you, but are you there?

See the nameless body bags
covered up by sand next to the Ganga?
Are your heads buried in there too,
refusing to look at our dead?
Acknowledge what is happening!
At least now, open your eyes!

See the smoke-filled roads next
to crematoriums, and the earth
swelling up in the graveyards.
In 2021, is this how we count the dead,
by being grave-watchers and pyre-counters?

Inhale. Exhale. This is too much.
This kills us today. So, do not point
elsewhere and duck, I chose you–

Today, there is just silence,
you have muffled all our pain and protest.
Weary and numb, I shake my head,
each new loss – just a flesh wound now.

I write this today to remind myself– you make
millions walk on roads, you vanish when
millions gasped, you tear down history,
my sanity, and with each excess, you make
me too tired to ask you if you even care.

Dhruv Somayajula is a technology law policy researcher who writes poetry in his spare time. His poems have been published in the Aurora & Blossoms Journal, the Gonzo Free Press Magazine, Phenomenal Literature and VerbalArt Magazine. He writes at and at @northstartalks on Instagram

Featured image: A view shows shallow sand graves of people, some of which are suspected to have died from COVID-19, on the banks of the river Ganges in Shringaverpur on the outskirts of Prayagraj, May 21, 2021. Photo: Reuters/Ritesh Shukla