Farah Bashir


Back to a void
That fills lives
To carry us over the abyss
From another life
Into spring ever the season
Of empty streets
No children
No laughter
No songs echo
Freedom is a child
A bride
A child-bride
A flower mutilated by a mortar
A black eye
A bruised smile
An exposed breast
Full of hope



My grandmother and I sighed
five summers ago
at freshly fallen dew
on the front pages

of Kashmir’s broadsheets
exposing the lifeless faces
of Asiya and Neelofar
peasant girls who loved

more than their home
an ankle-deep playful stream
in which the gods of security
said the girls drowned.

I now see my grandmother
hiding behind the frail
screams of Sameer Rah
a boy who went out

to buy candy
but instead shouted
a popular slogan
my grandmother says

Tufail Mattoo
also whispers from
inside the small grave
he’s trapped in

but she says she’s puzzled
even when she’s dreaming
why she can’t recall
the familiar word.

Farah Bashir @farahbashir lives in Delhi. She recently published her short story “Fingerprints of a Generation” about psychological disorders caused by the conflict in Kashmir in Body Boundaries an all-woman anthology published in Singapore.

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