Do Nothing This Eid

Exiled Home - Rollie Mukherjee

The poem was written in September, 2016 when the festival of Eid in Kashmir was an occasion of mourning and loss.

Do nothing this Eid.

Do not eat. Do not sleep.

Do not open the door to the perjuries of the street.

Do not lift the carcasses off the ground and hang them on the trees,

The eyes will look out far and wide, though the tongues do not speak.

They have covered the skies with dead eyes, it rains without pause.

The wind is grey with smoke.

The houses are shut faces. Windows fold their hands,

No light gets in. I lean against brittle walls,

Waiting for that river of milk, your eyes.

Since morning, there has only been news of blood.

As the day ends, a dark lake empties out of me.

I can do nothing to stop it.

I cannot escape the metal of its smell.

I never chose to be on this side.

I live the life of another.

I would write to you, even if it were the last words I wrote.

Do nothing this Eid. Do not sleep. Do not eat.

Do not cry those tears that salt the bitter earth.

I can taste my absence in you, I am without salt.

I know there are no letters coming,

The grey river is full of ghosts and the hands of lovers

Entwined in dreams. Their palms sprout like lotus leaves.

Do nothing this Eid. Do not move.

Do not look through window panes,

Do not search the chasms of this broken earth for some light,

Do not look at the horizon like that (no, do not unveil your eyes),

no milk will ever wash it shores.

Instead, lay your ear to floorboards and listen,

Wait till the bayonets pierce your eardrums.

Blood seeps in through the cracks on the wooden floor.

Blood seeps into me.

They will not let your child go.

I can taste the metal of its hunger in my belly.

Bodies drop from branches, one by one,

I see them stand. My toes float in blood.

This house sinks like a body in prayer.

White pigeons streak the evening sky.

About the Author(s):