40 Thousand

40 thousand people
40 thousand phantoms
are marching towards you
right now

you have taken their lands
you have taken to hatred
you have been taken by greed

they knew nothing of this
they knew everything
their backs, painted by barbwire,
cooked by bullets
know everything

40 thousand dreams
that couldn’t connect
how the price of onion & flour
and the price of guns and tanks
and the wrath of Buddha
and the sword of Rama
would not let them
return to their homes by sunset,
maybe, smoke a little,
and look at the river flowing by,
clouds making shapes in reds and oranges

so they turned with the tides,
with the agony of the moon, the weeping hills,
the alert golden winged vultures –
with all history and being – 40 thousand vivid humans

first you didn’t count them
and now, you can’t
and, right now,
in deep silence,
they are marching
towards you
towards the spot between your eyes
may 40 thousand nightmares be all yours
tonight

Rohingya, flesh of me and my mother
soul of my sweet, big, ancient earth
you,
friends,
shall live
and they, who took your lands and bodies,
shan’t.

Atindriyo Chakraborty is a poet from Kolkota

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