Poem | Sahana Mukherjee

'Baloon Debate', Banksy 
Source: blogs.uoregon.edu

(For Ghassan Kanafani)

When you first wrote to me
of the man in the sun,
I took him to be a soldier.
So, I put out the light. I fell
asleep. I dreamt mine fields
of love. Mundane, you’d smirked,
and wrote to me again:
What did you think of my man in the sun?
I thought of August,
I told you, and all my poems
on rain, how they cut down
branches of my tree in
Summer. I thought of Tigris
and Euphrates, how they form
Shat – al – Arab and time stood
still between us.

About your man in the sun,
I only dreamt. How does he die?
I wanted to ask.
But, before you could reach out,
and speak differently,
I read the end of your letter:

In your country and mine, old men smoke water – pipes.
As a child, I was scared of thunder as you, wondered
whether Mother was safe at her work. But, in your country,
unlike mine, you don’t get shot under order, at sight. 
We are but linked by paper, after all, and paper, 
as you know, here burns throughout the night.

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