In Your Sharaf, Palestine

Rajeshwari Guha


A glamourized religious song
Wading in through the dirty
Window panes
Soft sunlight, thick air
Siya Ram, Jai Ram
Two paranthas dropped on my plate
With a cube of butter
Mouth runs dry
There’s blood in my aachar.
Unlocking the dim lock-screen
(brightness doesn’t suit the times);
Tears roll down, the heart
Sinks into the stomach, heavy and
wet, pushing everything else
Out of the way
Staring at the shattered dreams on my screen
‘I want to be a doctor
I want to be a professor
I want my father to not die.’
Sparkling eyes, bright smiles
Clutching onto the nearest kitten
Soft & helpless
Mothers with their hearts
In their throats
If they could, they would
Pluck it out, hand in mouth
And hide it in their thoub
Pretend it is alright
For the children’s sake.
They have also found love
In other women
As they go to the Jordan River
To wash away
Period stains, divine blood
Restorative, regenerative
Wishing they could give
Their blood instead,
From their wombs, their
Hearts, even.

‘Please don’t kill my children,
don’t kill my babies,
spare my husband,
My al’umu, ‘ab
My ‘akh, ‘ukht, ‘afdil sadiq li
I am strong - divinity
I would hang
Your severed heads
Around my neck, if I could.’
No terrorists here.
One doesn’t mean millions
Learn to count, the children
Do it better.
Dreams cannot be taken away
Even if
An entire generation is wiped out;
You count their days,
But they count yours.
~~~ Rajeshwari Guha is a passionate poet who studied at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.

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