The Poisonous Seed / Subrat Barik 

Smashing our own skulls, throwing as fertiliser
by hand in the whole fields
with the vicious cycle of the debt given by you
germinating for years—-the gallows
the dead bodies hanging on the gallows are
our crops and cultivation.
Laughter on your lips, how?
Can’t you see how your agriculture bill burps
eating up our blood, flesh and fat blending
how can you see as you’re in the lotus posture
in a cave meditating, static?
On this side, your fingers on different postures
striping off the skin being the lathis
yet we’re flowing in the bone-chilling night—-
a singing brook.
The proposal was to bear promises on our ways,
you sowed thorns
ah, your speech so quirky and laced
with hypocrisy—-the magic spell,
your skin gleams and your face glows eating
from us whereas our lives are loaded with the
wrinkles of apprehension and insecurities.
Oh, we understood, expecting something
from you is like growing paddy saplings
on the tarmac road
hey, we had planted you in our chest
what did you reciprocate?
You’re a poisonous seed, you’re poisoning all
through the roots, before you make the chest barren,
we’ll have to uproot you by force.

In solidarity with the farmers who fought against the controversial agricultural bill 2020-21 in

Subrat Barik holds a degree in English Literature and a diploma in teaching. He writes in Odia
and his writings appear in various Odia journals. He grew up in Kalahandi of Odisha in India. He
can be reached at

Translated from the Odia by Pitambar Naik

Pitambar Naik is an advertising professional. He’s a former editor/nonfiction reader for Mud
Season Review and Minute Magazine. His work appears or is forthcoming in The Notre Dame
Review, Packingtown Review, Ghost City Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Indian
Quarterly and elsewhere. He has a collection of poetry: The Anatomy of Solitude (Hawakal). He
grew up in Odisha and lives in Bangalore, India.

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