Shruti Sonal

I had died three hundred and thirty-three times

Till my body finally gave in

Ten times on the last day itself

First when I woke up in the morning

And did not find my son sleeping beside me

Second when I found him wrestling with a barbed wire

Trying to reclaim his playground and his childhood

Third when I carried him back to the house

And found no food to feed his starved body

Fourth when I heard gunshots in the distance

And knew my neighbor’s’ house had been pierced

Fifth when the ground beneath us shook

As if possessed by the jinns we heard of in tales

Sixth when screams were drowned out by sirens

Of foreign airplanes hovering in the hollow sky

Seventh when it was announced that

There would be some collateral damage

Eighth when I found no words to explain to my son

That the complicated term meant we’d have to die for peace

Ninth when I looked towards the heaven

And found no God to pray to

And finally tenth, when my breath gave in

And my bones melted like snow

I felt no pain, none at all

For I had died three hundred and thirty three times already

Till my body finally became dust, like the rest of my homeland


Shruti Sonal is a young poet based in New Delhi, reach her at [email protected]

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