“I wanted to steal fire” by Rafiul Alom Rahman

[Dedicated to all Kashmiri friends by Rafiul Alom Rahman]

I wanted to steal fire

That day, when the evening sun faded into the horizon,
I tried to read the faces of my people in dark, and translate madness into words.

They had warned me against writing madness,
So, I hid gunshots and blood in a crumpled piece of paper and went to look out for spring.

But the old lady told me that winter had just set in, and I would need fire.

I walked along broken streets, where wives spilled half-kept secrets into their husbands’ ears,
And children learnt the art of silence.

I wanted to steal fire, but stole silence instead –
Silence that spoke of pain, pleasure and poverty.

In the distance, a mother gave birth to a child, and a wolf howled.

An old man breathed his last when a forbidden history
Found refuge in pen, paper and ink.

 

Rafiul Alom Rahman is a student of English literature at the University of Delhi. He tweets @rafiulrahman.