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I Am a Thousand and other poems

I Am a Thousand and other poems
Photo by Vinícius Vieira Fotografia

I Am a Thousand Voices 


I am a thousand voices rising 
over Chowringhee’s din, singing 
a symphony of hope, of freedom 
swelling like the sun.

I am a thousand workers marching
from shops and shacks and shanties, trickling 
into a surging mass, like rivers
merging with the Ganges.

I am a thousand voices stifled 
mouths choked with stones, wrung 
of every word, like chickens flapping 
headless at New Market.

I am a thousand people dying 
and dotting dusty bylanes, bodies 
pale and bodies dark, a rotting 
carcass of a dream. 


Purana Pul (A Ghazal)



Music wafted down cobbled streets down
bustling bazaars lining the bridge to Bhagmati

Gems and jewels and pearls were prized like
courtesans’ kisses beside the bridge to Bhagmati

Languorous couplets were whispered soft in
palaces of pleasures by the bridge to Bhagmati

Sounds of ghungroos were tinkling borne by
winds that sighed over the bridge to Bhagmati

Domed mosques with finials stood like
budding breasts beyond the bridge to Bhagmati

A prince rode into gathering gloom toward
his lover across the bridge to Bhagmati

Pale porcelain moonshine dripped over
burnished waters below the bridge to Bhagmati

Would you guess what bridges one builds for love unless
I, Bhavika, had heard the tale of the bridge to Bhagmati?


In Anantnag


The grey-winged ouzel 
stole the voice from my throat 
to sing on tin-roofed houses 
where mothers lost their sons 
and their wails rose up like mist 
above the valley 

The grey-winged ouzel 
stole the voice from my throat 
to sing in silver fir-trees 
looking over rivers bloodied 
by bodies drifting bloated 
down the valley 

The grey-winged ouzel 
stole the voice from my throat 
to tell my tale for our sake 
the day the soldiers shot me 
and their laughter rang like gunshots 
through the valley

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