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Children of war in Palestine.

By MANASH BHATTACHARJEE.

1.
The little girl
Runs after a butterfly
Among the graves

2.
Their ghosts play cricket
In the ramshackle courtyard
After the boys leave

3.
Her nose bleeding
The girl in her father’s lap
Shouts at the world

4.
He draws giant insects
Flying down from the sky
Aimed at his eyes

5.
Absorbed in prayer
Before the house went up in flames
He pleaded mercy for jasmines

6.
She ran faster than her shadow
Shells chasing her heels
Trading a slipper with death

7.
The soldier lifts the boy up
Stares at his guts
And hears a hollow rumble of wings

8.
Through broken walls
Boys play hide-and-seek at noon
With rocket fire

9.
As a little girl
Walaa thought barbed wires were meant
To keep out the soldiers

10.
Between a bird and a girl:
“Why are they cutting down the trees?”
“To drive you away, so we can’t fly.”

11.
Nights explode on his ears
He dreams he is a burning star
Sleep is another country

12.
She stares at the sea’s blue
Her blue heart bluer than the sea
The air bluer than her heart

13.
In a battered street
Little Yasin lies dead with flag in hand
The Rabbi’s cheek is a moist wall


Manash Bhattacharjee is a poet, translator and a political science scholar from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His poems have appeared in The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, First Proof: The Penguin Book of New Writing from India (Volume 5), George Szirtes’ Blog, The Missing Slate, The Palestine Chronicle, The Little Magazine, Pratilipi and Coldnoon. His first collection of poetry, Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems, was published recently by The London Magazine.

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