The letter box hung nailed on a decrepit window,
That shut permanently in shattered glass,
By obscure corner of a long, ugly bunker,
Holding an old garbled pin code.

Over paint as red as oozing blood,
Stood smeared in peaceful white, 190001,
The zeroes punctured by bullet holes,
Like the intruded address of my city.

The latch of this noose held, punctured red box,
Stood unfastened to unknown fears,
Its bust slashed like that son of north,
Who came back home in an empty cadaver.
His mind stolen and a heart ripped off,
Corpse abjured and dropped across the bunker,
To become a newspaper line next day.
An obituary photo by the corner of page two,
Was soon used as a crumpled wrapping,
For bakers fresh bread and our stale disdain,
And tossed away by the dispersing crowd.
The blood red box and the obituary photo,
Dared to hold nothing in their chest,
The page two wrappings and stamp licked letters,
Our secrets and ache silently scattered.

In worn out edges a white envelope bore,
“To the commanding officer who stole my son”
And alongside its stamp was forced a jackboot print,
That had been stomped in utter disdain.
Another postcard had a pencil sketch,
Of a school bag with a broken Chinar leaf motif,
A foot note ended in scribbling form,
“Daddy come back I won’t ask for more”

A fugitive young man who dared the curfew,
Chased by night hyenas in murderous uniforms,
Stopped by the red box to light a smoke,
And dropped his match to burn our words.
Our stories smouldering all ash and soot.
The red box now hangs empty and drained,
Our pin code they claim seeks freedom, hence jailed.

~S~

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