Exile


the sky that final evening
was smeared red with death,
and a tangible odour of fear
hung oppressively in the air,
by the half-shut windows,
blood had petrified in my veins

mother moved about the rooms
unsettling the unnatural quiet,
the few things we still owned
were in neat bundles beside the door,
slowly, on his artistic limbs,
baba mapped the contours of home

he absorbed the fading colours,
let memories settle on his skin
as fragile as a fine layer of dust,
in a corner grandma sat quietly
huddled with her kangri,
her gaze lost in a different world

the children had long forgotten time
and surrendered to exhaustion,
from my place near the window,
I envied their restive slumber
as I watched our topographies of pain,
trapped between somewhere and nowhere

the eerie wail of an ambulance sounded,
gunshots echoed through the air,
choked on dust and soot and pain
we waited, and watched the day reduce
to ash, then we passed into the night,
quietly, towards an unfamiliar sky

First published in Dissident Voice’s Sunday Poetry section. DV is a radical newsletter in the struggle for peace and social justice.

Advertisements

The Ghosts Of War – A Poem


Some days back  James had posted a wonderful “little piece” Ghost 1 on Facebook thanks to Edouard Beau, whose
photographs of Iraq gave  the words to two poems from two different perspectives. Here is my take on the Photograph.

I see him standing there,
a body trapped in soul,
watching the remnant of
what was our home.
They had found him slumped
near the ruins of a bombed
mosque, his spectacles propped
awkwardly to the bridge of his
broken nose, his forearms
shattered, his white robe mud
caked and ragged. They had
dumped him into a two-wheeled
cart and dragged to where he
now stands in the picture that
came today from a stranger
with a scribble at the back,
“your father.”
A reminder of the day the city
smoldered under clouds of dust
and smoke, deafened by the sirens
and the wails of women and children.
The day I and my mother, forced
by my father, braved the blood-stained
road to another land, never to return.