“Gaza” by Akhil Katyal

Gaza

I

When there will be night,
we will claim the promise
of the setting sun

we will claim
our foot-soldiers

and the ones
who stayed inside waiting to be
counted

we will claim them on
both sides of this opaque wall

all those
who refused its opaqueness,
its night, and saw through

we would be counting them too.

II

We will not deny
that tonight
we are not the equal side
by the local measurements they use

but we know,
that on old papyrus,
on the balance-sheet of history,
we add up to more

and the longer this night lasts,
we will let its darkness spill around us

darkness come out from our homes
from our eyes,
and then, sharp like falling stars,
cut through their days,
their pillars,
clouds

we shall refuse to cover our dead
with the shrouds of their making,
of their words
and
of all this
their accounting of our loss

we will promise this to our night,
that when
the sun comes,
we will be taking its light to the witness stand

and ask if the dead that do not die of age
leave the rest to die of memory

and on that day which will promise us
the land,
the long life,
we will say to it with immaculate precision, ‘no,’
‘good lives, sir,
brave, knowing lives, sir, are here – so often – not long

and long lives, sir, today
are not the subject of my song.’
(after Rafeef Ziadah)

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Akhil Katyal is a writer based in Delhi where is also teaches literature at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. His bilingual Hindi and English poetry collection is forthcoming with Vani Prakashan (2013). His poems and fiction have been published by national and international journals like The Houston Literary Review, The Literateur, The Minetta Review, The Nether Magazine and Muse India.

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2 thoughts on ““Gaza” by Akhil Katyal

  1. Ankita says:

    ‘and ask if the dead that do not die of age
    leave the rest to die of memory’

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