A Broken Piece of Paradise by Jose Varghese

A Broken Piece of Paradise

A Broken Piece of Paradise

by Jose Varghese

The shack contains everything
they need after
they lost everything.

The gleam of thin metal
covers misshaped planks that
try in vain to be window frames.

Light teases them with
the playful shadows it makes
to fight boredom
on the days when no ship sinks,
no cars crash,
or no flights are shot down.

They sleep on cardboard
that separates them
from the soil
they didn’t come from,
but might end up
being a part of, if they fail
to find an escape route.

The kids jump fences and go
where they shouldn’t.

The woman drowns herself
in querulous everyday voyages
of epic survivals.

The man dreams of distances
that would have saved them
from the fake tenderness
of those who
throw thoughtless breadcrumbs
of kindness at them.


Jose Varghese is the author of Silver Painted Gandhi and Other Poems, and his second collection of poems will be published in 2021 (Black Spring Press Group). He was a finalist in LISP and Beverly Prize, a runner-up in Salt Prize, and was commended in Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize. His works have appeared in Joao Roque Literary Journal, The Best Asian Short Story Anthology, Dreich, Meridian, Afterwards, Unthology 5, Unveiled, and Reflex Fiction.

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  1. Stark images that capture the abysmal state of existence of the refugee generation.

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