Saturday, August 3, 2013

Poem: Identity Card

Today
I received
my identity card

and was stunned:
They’d gotten my name wrong!

No,
not misspelled;

the address was right
and so was my birth-date

but the name
beneath my photograph
wasn’t mine at all.

My lips
then strung the alien letters
together
into a symphony - 

it sounded like
bullets
weaving through my flesh;
like my soul
being riddled with falsehoods

it sounded like
truth,
buried alive,
struggling to escape
from its grave

it sounded like
perfumes
trying to sweeten
the stench of blood
souring on guilty hands.

Today,
my identity card
renamed me
Ishrat Jahan.




When conscience is mortgaged to money and power, when innocence is murdered to fuel hatred, when blood is spilled so that the seedlings of prejudice may flourish, when khaki-clad hearts have turned to stone... you get Ishrat Jahan and countless other victims of fake encounters (God alone knows how many.) 

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