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Now the Tax

We understood
those were tributaries
ensconced on high peaks when we came
along those dry in summers
bleakly escaping into now we know as villages
but the groves of mango trees
from one to another
the only thirst of fetching water from well
of lichen growth and shrubs around
we put for animals, the path is same
not mightiest attempt the canals have snakes
day has heat and ripe ripe mangoes
despite fresh and neat
the tales are drawn or
never after a wild storm
we know how to go through bushes
other only huge and broad banyan
we know from what is shade
while the animals' thirst and hunger
nothing, the wild is as wild
an abandoned well raised of rainwater
we knew of difference of ours and theirs,
of villages and paths
but today I pay taxes "agricultural cess"
eat mangoes for living, no community feast or fast
still but sure question weighs heavy on my mind
where is the cow,
how healthy are the pastures
the fodder we never grew
the cow is mother, still is
till in Rupees milk in packets arrive,
will she become animal sold for no profit (no bond)
will the rain harvest in one's own courtyard a handful of green
how the years will lapse
our veins that thrive of mangoes and milk
half of our appetite
sodden drinks, artificially enrich
processed foods from raw grain and food rotation
we lose our tales, lore and practices
what when slave to ourselves
we bid not those strangers to us be far.

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