Saturday Poem

The Placard says ‘Silence is Violence’

One year people in the Valley of Kashmir
Kept away strangers in their backyards
who stole the luxury of silence turned
Valley into a strip of clamoring mouths
“azadi” “azadi” the words emit as gills
suck oxygen as the eyes of children
blinded by bullets see some light
even Trump’s visit could not bring down
the showman’s frenzy and now there is
temple he ritualizes but people in Valley
cannot go to mosques since some gods
are anointed and others are just new to
pantheon while holding chaplets they
are saints of curfew fringed by guns
without power and water extended
victims of an empire busy in charting
new territories from Bosnia to Babylon
an apostle unseen still far from this land
where wood is perfumed water pearly
skies embracing poetry oxymoronic.

by Rizwan Ahktar