Poem: Time in Kashmir
"It's late, it's always late,
in history it is always night,
always the wrong time."
— Octavio Paz, "Although it is Night"
What time is it in Kashmir? Time's a curse, time, accursed tongues
Split into stones, mothers hurl curses, curses sit
Lighter on their tongues than prayers reeling from gunshots
When mothers give up on time
Time roams without shelter, it has no place to hide.
Time goes blind, turns a blind eye on Kashmir, blind
Hands wound children’s eyes, children blinded cry prophecies
Time in Kashmir is in grave hands, time multiplies in graves, it hides
Its face in the water, time is upstream in Kashmir, oarsmen row against
The current, blood runs slow.
Time hallucinates is it 2016? 2010? Nothing ever seems
To rest in its own time, time is elsewhere in Kashmir, never here
Time is a mirror in shards, it splinters memory, memory
Never sits in one place in Kashmir.
Time is the occupier, the occupation in Kashmir
Dates encircled in calendars are reminders, dates marked
Not as past but as future in unmarked time.
Time is served on a platter in Kashmir, there they eat time
Slowly in morsels, in Kashmir they eat curses.
Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee‘s poems have appeared in The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, The Fortnightly Review, Elohi Gadugi Journal, Mudlark, Metamorphoses, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Postcolonialist, and The Indian Quarterly. His first collection of poetry,Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems (2013), was published by The London Magazine. He teaches in the School of Culture and Creative Expressions at Ambedkar University, New Delhi.
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