we were stars

in midnight spasms of paradise dreams

you and I, we played

under the same setting sun

the tulips danced

as did we,

on wooden carts

sometimes I rode

sometimes I pushed

we sat together shared iftaar meals

and the warmth of kangris

in frozen snow-clad streets sipping

saffron flavoured tea often salted, sometimes sweet

then rose the bile, deep flowing vile streams

you and I did not understand, at least I didn't

torn, we stood on different sides

of the Jehlum that reddened with time

countless took flight, to safe havens

the photographs of memories burned

taps frozen in winters

deafening silences rattled with guns

suddenly it was just your Kashmir

and we, abandoned, belong nowhere

we were Kashmiris

under summer suns,

we now cry and burn

© Sandhya Suri

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