Friday Poem

In Kashmir, it is the boys, [and everyone]
—Dedicated to the killed, maimed, blinded, imprisoned,
…. curfewed in Kashmir

It is the boys, says the government man

on the Indian TV

who the parents should ask to stay away

away from the streets and stones

and sit, in front of lifeless computers

in dark, Internet banned, phones shut,

smeared with blood of their mates

drinking milk-less tea, dry-eyed

and stay calm [a must]

pretend the chains they keel under

are the gossamer-threads of democracy

shamelessly woven over Casspirs, pellet guns,

hiding the torn bodies of their dead, maimed

tortured, disappeared

and words they can’t speak or write

on a butchered map

a city full of peppered air, and bullets

It is the boys, says the government man

on the Indian TV

who the parents should ask to stay away

from the falcons perched in forests,

that dream of flying higher than the walls

freeing this open air prison,

covered with razor wires,

where Asiya and Neelofar drown,

on that stretch of Rambaira nallah,

shallower than shallow,

where ducklings learn to swim

It is the boys, says the government man

on the Indian TV

who the parents should ask to stay away

placing the boys as if corner bricks

in their edifice of tyranny, where the dying

are made to dig their graves,

and blamed,

for dying and living, thinking

It is the boys, says the government man

on the Indian TV

who the parents should ask to stay away

as if the boys are naughty toddlers, enchanted by oddities

as if their slogans are cuss-words that should not be used

as if their longing for freedom is a deviance not a right

as if Burhan is not our martyr like Bhagat Singh is yours,

as if the forests of Tral are not our Sierra Meistra

it is the boys, the government man should know –

yes, the Kashmiri boys, and know well –

those who are killed but their freedom lives

those who lose sight but their vision lives

those who stone the occupation without being occupied

it is the boys that the government man on Indian TV should know –

for, it is that, the boys in Kashmir grow every time your tyranny grows

and know this: it is not only the boys … it is the girls,

and everyone else

II

Don't bring any spice –

for our last dinner together

I will bring the only candle

Some sundried tomato that a neighbor shared

Warmed in borrowed mustard oil

You bring chochwor,

If at all, the baker in your alley opens today

Don't bring any spice –

My city,

that bride-in-transit-and-eternal- siege

[ravaged by a rabid army

on the way to her beloved’s home]

is laden with pepper tonight

Don't bring any spice –

for our last dinner together

if you crave salt.

we have tears

III

Take account

the largest crowd prayed for Burhan and counting

50 and more funeral prayers and counting

another sweet-faced martyr of Kashmir, and counting

[the terrorist in the Indian papers: another lie and counting]

The rain fell, mixing with tears and counting

Third Eid evening, and counting

Then they outdid tyranny, and counting

29 days days: 55 plus dead, and counting

4500+ maimed, and counting

100 and more eyes gouged, and counting

Wounded chanting Azadi, and counting

Mother’s lamenting their sons, and counting

Burning, tears, police stations, and counting

Tear gas, pellets, bullets, and counting

Fool-words: India, internal matter, normalcy and counting

Pakistan, UN complaints, paid agents, and counting

It is time, stop counting, counting, counting

Hear, the youth are taking account

by Ather Zia

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ather Zia is a poet, and writer. She teaches anthropology and gender studies
at University of Northern Colorado. She is founder-editor of Kashmir Lit
@www.kashmirlit.org

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

chochwor: Kashmiri bagel
.

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