Unjustified Violence

by Ajay Sawant Issue: 2022 Special Issue on Identity

When I am talking about Asian hate, I try
                to talk without referencing
a violent word, so I say: a peaceful procession
was taken over by candle masters & the victims kept blowing;
that the blowers wore coloured to nearly Indian faces
and their glasses cluttered over a multitude of eastern visions
meaning: it’s the air we blow on our burns
or over the bodies of women whose faces were invaded
by the awakening of their mother tongue
These are violent variations, every day,        day after day, chores,
               like the “Six Asian Women
                                    shot (murdered) at a Spa in Atlanta”
Sometimes it’s the unnecessary hatred from
blue eyes and cherry plunged lips over porcelain faces and then
   there’s this motherland that never became our homeland
We cling on wedges—palms shredded, our names in Indian ink
all submerged over coarse sand beds,
sputtered and soiled in the vastness of identities.
You stand there—guilty, your face is small, eyes full of pity
so I say on homophones and pity word acronyms
You recognize all of the wedges—one: this substantial weight sinking
and you know you stand beside it,
You know it can sink you within a hazier shade;
That it isn’t always easy to keep the names of the victims
sheltered under a small casket of whiteness.



Ajay Sawant

Ajay Sawant is the assistant editor at the Southern Humanities Review and 2021 CPB Writing Fellowship recipient from The Bombay Review. He has received honourable mentions for the 2021 Christopher Hewitt Poetry Award and Dan Veach Poetry Prize. His poems and critical work appear in The London Magazine, Live Wire, Hawaii Pacific Review, Xavier Review, The Bombay Review, The Louisville Review, Lunch Ticket, Cold Mountain Review and Rattle, among many others. Ajay often tweets at @ajaycycles.