Metamorphosis : A Poem for Umar Khalid

I can’t write poems for you.

Let me tell you stories:

stories of metamorphosis.

Our spring is gone

and in the lap of summer

the rivers have become an apparition of our greed.

The signboards are fresh and loud –

Private properties.

Where have the fish gone?

The plates in the Save Tree conclaves are full

with their flesh

Their white eyes have meticulously been

gorged out

and a long memorandum is being read to them.

Do dead fishes have ears?


They have shaven trees

like they shave armpits.

The clean-shaven earth

has become an everyday volcano and

We are walking like zombies.


In the last thousand days,

the parliament has metamorphosed into

a group theatre with no actor in the group.

And we have been turned into a

warehouse prison with invisible shackles in our tongues.

My daughter asked me this May

Was Shahjahan a Sarkar?


I have asked everyone

Can the blue line metro

take me to Tihar?

How can I write you letters?

I, a prisoner and you a free man

Can I write a letter to you, Umar?

I can reach you yet can’t reach you ever.


My dreams have transmuted into a state’s bargain

And you, my comrade, must have kept the dreams alive.

Tonight I can’t write you the saddest lines

I am waiting for you to find my dreams back.


Since you have metamorphosed into

resistance and

I have become a voice.

Don’t we know a bit of Sun

can even metamorphose water into torrential rain?

Moumita Alam is a poet from West Bengal. Her poetry collection, The Musings of the Dark was published in 2020. The book has about a hundred poems written in protest against the humanitarian crisis from the abrogation of article 370, the Delhi riots, and the Shaheen Bagh movement to the unbearable sufferings of the migrant labourers due to the unplanned COVID – induced lockdown.

Featured image illustration by Pariplab Chakraborty.