The monsoon clouds never cross into Kashmir

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In the plains,
we board a flight
that rises above them.

It’s departure is home coming.
It’s arrival – a strange city.

But in a curfewed city
how would you find yourself

and your home,
the one you left behind
when it was still summer

and the birds hadn’t flocked
away from the half-inched Himalayas.

Now, mist covers what’s theirs;
We descent, breaking the city noise
silence follow us, like a scream,
into the valley.

We look for names
that were once ours.
No one carries a placard, anymore –
the city has run out of its alphabets.

We overhear
Aakashvani announcement –
“The curfew shall be extended”

“Hamiasto, Hamiasto, Hamiast!”
was that you, Shahjahan?

Save

When it’s autumn’s turn
to borrow a bloody summer’s color,
don’t go out looking for me

in meadows mined with memories
blooming with wild flowers
that never went away

like the million stars
under which we met
the first spring years ago.

II

When the sky seeks an abode,
spare the attic for it.
Don’t go out looking for me

leaving the house to grieve
the loss of sky
that couldn’t bear the agony

of autumn’s demise.
Seasons like colors
faint in memories now.
III

Let the ultramarine water
be our witness –
Kashyap, the tormentor

seeks you in our death
to undo the knots
of your belligerence.