If It Were for Evenings to Search for the Lost Boys — by Omair Bhat

Dec 16, 2020

Omair Bhat presents his poem “If It Were for Evenings to Search for the Lost Boys” that binds the present time with the past in a continuum of killing and disappearance that has exasperated even Kashmir’s evenings into screaming out the name of freedom. Featured earlier in our poetry special "Verses of Lament and Dissent - First Issue."

IF IT WERE FOR EVENINGS TO SEARCH FOR THE LOST BOYS

If it were for evenings to search for the boys
who left for the rugged mountains,
in Kashmir, in my wounded country,
and returned home as martyrs one after another,
alive in their death.

If it were for evenings to travel to any wind
anywhere before moonset
and find them in this place
under the shade of pines
in unflinching peace.

If it were for evenings to walk with them in the forlorn woods,
stricken by the woe of silence,
till the last breath of the night.

If it were for evenings to hear them call out each other's names
hear them laugh at the jokes they tell each other in whispers.

If it were for evenings to tuck them away,
in safety from informers of the police,
in the fragrances of autumn,
then winter, then spring, then almonds and so on.

If it were for evenings to search for the boys and find them
in this place in the dream of prophets transformed into noor.

If it were for evenings to say goodbye to them in the day
and attend their funeral at the dusk.

If it were for evenings to feel sad momentarily and cry.

If it were for evenings to return to nothing,
to rubble after the mayhem of the day.

If it were for evenings to console their mothers of their infinite loss,
wouldn't evenings go raving mad?

Wouldn't evenings not crawl into oblivion anymore?
Wouldn't evenings rather shape into frightening shadows
and hover over the occupation
like an apparent thought of a horrible death?

Wouldn't evenings hold the barrel of a gun
and declare a final war against tyrants
announcing “now, no more of your oppression,
get out of my home!”?

Wouldn't evenings rewrite our history
give it flesh and blood men and women
earth and heaven
everything
for threading the struggle for freedom
through the eye of a needle
and weaving it into a new dawn?

Wouldn't evenings try all the war criminals
for the all the crimes committed against us so far?

Then, perhaps then, they'd not search
for the boys in the woods anymore.

Then, the lost boys, alive in their death,
would come home and celebrate victory
after how many wars?

Then, the evenings would walk back
and relish a sunset on a window
looking out into a river then,
then they would fade into the night
and settle down quietly.

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About the Contributor

Omair Bhat thinks of himself as a memory keeper. His poems have previously appeared in Critical Muslim, The Sunflower Collective, Celebration, Cafe Dissensus and Kashmir Lit. In his free time, Omair reads poetry from all over the world while researching international poets and their writings. He is currently finalizing a manuscript of his first book of poems.

Barrilete cósmico, ¿de qué planeta viniste?