On the Abrogation of Section 370 with Ghassan Kanafani

          August 2019, Jammu- Kashmir

          Back home I dispossess the snowy hills
          like echelons of funeral sheets
          until I cannot decipher
          where paper goes after it is burned.

          *

          Earlier, my body became a Himalayan iris
          its stalked navel hair in the shape of blackish jinx.
          Why do they always promise mystic for misfortune?

          *

          Here too sanity loses its firma. Blood
          gushes more than axed maple; the cavernous
          debris of sons missing from embonpoint.

          *

          Soon, green eyed men rise up like wild oak
          mirroring the dowry cast towards Jhelum.
          It only feels numb when you tend
          an ice lingam gloomier than shepherd bone.

          *

          Today my name is the child’s tongue
          stuck to his window. I blow the word: fear
          and dream of console that won’t come.

          *

          For dinner we pass down suckled hope
          with astringence, salt the shamed virgin girls
          watching every paraffin lamp blink
          into a monarch butterfly.


Rushda Rafeek is currently based in Sri Lanka. Among the works published are nominations for the Pushcart Prize, finalist of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize (2017) and winner of the Annual Nazim Hikmet Poetry Contest (2018).
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