When They Come

after reading P. Lal’s Lessons

When they come to take stock of us
and see our stars, like fireflies in the night,
flickering along, snapped out, flickering along . . .
when they come out of the dark at us
down God knows what avenue of whispered searchlight
to take up fragments of still-burning song . . .

though we are out of it, pounded to bits
or gassed, blanket-flipped from a snug corner
by Nature’s shrug – or self-wrenched out of line –
when at length they absorb sound-gobbets
or pass our ludicrous scratchings through a scanner
or cram light-patches into a design –

will they know our life was vulnerable, lovely?
Will they know why
they themselves came hunting out of the sky?

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