Tattoos and Commitments

Abishake Koul


I met her when she was young,

She had a tattoo of a Chinar leaf,

And the leaf had a bullet hole in it,

Even the tattooed leaf had withered.


Her voice quivered when she spoke,

Of guns brushing against her body,

And then she showed me Azaadi,

Tattooed in italics on her finger.


Bengal had found home in Kashmir,

And the cause a justification,

Stories heard, unheard and reheard,

Solicitations and tears of crippled lawyers.

Abishake Koul is a poet from the mountains. He started writing poems in school, scribbling verses at the back of his notebooks. He has been published in the journal CLRI, Snapdragon, Taj Mahal Review, the anthology Chants of Peace, The Punch Magazine, The Write Launch, and The Unknown Pen.

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