Broken Homes

They all are from a broken home.
Their parents had it even worse.
Their parents’ parents had the wealth.
The wealth that broke them, left them broke.
The only thing they have with them:
A name that drums of warrior kings.

The one who bought their palace lands
Allowed the boys to work the scrubs,
Allowed the girls to work the stoves,
Allowed the old to work the shrubs.
The men and wives of working age
Were sent on different working ways.

The one who bought their palace lands
Arranged the weddings of the boys
And kept their dowries for himself.
The girls were bedded off to men
Without a wedding document,
Returned with bellies full of kids.
The old were left alone to watch.

The one who bought their palace lands
Upon attaining elder age,
‘Decided’ with a scribbled note
To stuff a piece of scrubbing cloth
Into his betel-reddened mouth,
Inhale the smoke of garden leaves,
Arranged upon an ancient stove
Inside a kitchen fully shut.

He said he did it on his own.
He said so in his scribbled note.
He signed it too. With trembling hands.
The boys (now, men), the girls (now, wives),
The old (now, dead) and looking down,
They all admitted he was mad.
They said he told them many times:
Their debt to him was still unpaid.
And so, in death, again he’ll take
The dignity they still have left.
They said he was a vengeful man.
A vengeful man consumed in rage.

They pointed out the room was locked.
The room was bolted from inside.
So, how would killers bolt outside?
Their fingerprints are everywhere
Because they work there night and day.
They all together said the same:
It wasn’t us. It wasn’t us.

They all are held together in
The lock-ups at the local jail.
The jail their family had built
Before the British called them kings.
Before the kings became their pets.
Before the pets became their wolves.
And broke the people in their stead.

The orphanage is not too pleased.
They find it hard to keep the kids
Of parents rotting for their crimes.
They say the kids will follow suit.
They say that crime is in their blood.
They say the kids will break more homes.

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