Human/Woman: A two-part poem by Huzaafa

Huzaafa's two-part poem looks at militarization through a gendered lens, foregrounding the centrality of female identity within the context of conflict.

The poem is the fifth installment in the series from Wande special issue on Kashmiri women titled Me and Militarization.



We were children
birthed into the middle of a war.
We gained consciousness
on a battlefield—
the bony frames of our mothers
shielding us
from shrapnels, pellets
and hatred, alike.
It was alright till our bodies fit.
But babies
(if they live through wombs and laps)
and soon growing they become people
aware of conflict covering their lives
like second skin:
bodies frisked at checkpoints by outsiders,
childhoods bloodied in encounters
and womanhood ensnared in war. 


This is a tale of dupattas caught in concertina wires—
of women caught in war.

Every walk down every street
under a militarized male gaze.

Our dreams twice blurred
by gender and tear smoke.
Our voice twice lost
to femininity and gunshots.

Horror twice recalled
in poshpora and kunan.

And war?

War twice lived
as human and woman. ♦

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