Across the stream–where?
I don’t see it.
The corpse. There!… Under the walnut tree.
You think so?
They’re not bullet shells.
True, it’s the brain–scattered and crushed like ripe mulberries.
I don’t understand… Tell me more!
No, it’s bigger than that. A hot lake of blood– ill-fated souls boiling in it.
But the scene is spectacular!
It’s more than that… but, I can’t explain it. Oh’ God!
Yes, I hear… music!
No, my buddy, those are tears. I’m sure they must be
women sitting in the courtyard and crying.
For the corpse, lying there?
Let’s go, and calm them.
We can’t go to their side–a hot zone!
I don’t believe you.
You have to believe me… Listen!
Yes, I hear … a voice!
No, voices, shouts. Uncommon! Coming from all sides.
Look! A procession… there!
Are they coming to lift the corpse?
I’m not sure…
But, they’re coming toward us–a violent river.
Run, Run… they’ll mistake us for murderers, and we’ll be killed…
What about the corpse?
Forget it! Run.
To where you think is safe.
I can’t run. I feel my legs go to sleep…
Like in a dream?
Forget it! Run…
I don’t see anything.
Where? There’s dense fog ahead!
No, it’s smoke: the corpse set on fire…
I don’t know.
I don’t know.
Let’s go then.
You go. I’ll stay.
To understand the corpse.
Qaisar Bashir is a Kashmiri poet, translator, and author. He has a master’s degree in English Literature from Kashmir University. His first poetry collection The Cry of Wounded Souls was published in 2019. Once Upon A Time is his translation of Akh Dour a Kashmiri novel by Bansi Nirdoush. He has widely has published in reputed journals such as The Criterion, Langlit, Muse India, Setumeg and atunispoetry.com.