Aakkulam Lake1

First, the water hyacinths

were charred

to white ash.

And then up floated droves

of dead pot-bellied fish.


Bulldozers clawed

their way through the slush,

chasing away egrets

and butterflies.

Trucks tipped in

smooth hillocks

of fine sand.

In two days, Aakkulam lake

was dead flat, bone-dry

and all set.


Months later,

I can still hear

murmuring mermen

warped in rotting reeds,
warbling in the depths

of a lake that

loved the sky.


A receding fringe of green

wages a war

of resistance and resilience

while a heart-shaped swathe of water

beats a tremulous tune,

mirroring the last shards

of sky.


[1] Aakkulam is a place of Thiruvananthapuram metropolitan area of Trivandrum city, the capital of Kerala state in India. It is about 10 km from Thiruvananthapuram city center. It is well-known as a picnic, backwater destination having the Akkulam Lake joining with the sea.