I: The Stars of My Sky

By Feroz Rather

Along that solitary graveled path
into a crimson evening,
My eyes chase you and chase you
until you ask them:
‘Where do these boys go after they kill them?’
‘What happens to their hearts, the love-lakes, now mad with the tempests of freedom?’

In Kashmir, in my village, Bumthan,
A cold summer morning
whispers into the leaves of an elm,
Why the dearest ones have to leave us before autumn?
Ah! You have taken away the summer rain,
And the news of our own death smashes us
under the glaring sun…

By the edge of the lake in the lap of Zabarwan,
we are locked into each other’s eyes,
Mad boy, look at the lake!
Now that we have reached the garden
Of wild pansies, I’ve been telling you
Love is so difficult, and art so profound,
And this war is so slow and cruel, slowly cruel to my eyes

Into the sunset, a scream rises from
the stones rebelling in the streets of the Old City,
Our hearts turn crimson,
The blood seeps into the lake,
And in our eyes Tufail floats like a young leaf
amid the wreaths of lotuses…

Far away, in Boston,
Along that solitary graveled path,
By the mauve lamps shinning on your skin,
As you trudge home to see your mum,
my eyes chase you and chase you
Until you ask them:
‘Why is love so difficult, and art so profound?’
‘Why is this war so slow and so cruel to my eyes?’
‘Where do these boys go after they kill them?’
‘What happens to their hearts, the love-lakes, mad with the tempests of freedom?’

Near Bumthan, three boys’ mothers
are wailing in the bloodied veins of Anantnag,
Past the darling hometown,
Past the evening’s crimson, alone
into the dark night,
And in my heart
Your absence grows like a full sad moon,
But before I fail to love
and bump into death
As I rush home to see Mum,
Those who loved a difficult love
And went mad in the tempests of freedom,
They become the light of my eyes,
Those boys who love and die,
Look! They’are’the stars of my sky.

Feroz Rather is a graduate student of’creative writing at California State University Fresno.

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