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By Ather Zia


Our wounds are labeled forgettable, Shahid
Our life before death is imperceptible, Shahid

Billboards proclaim, Kashmir: A Paradise
God has a reason to be chimerical, Shahid

Memory threads tied to wooden roses at Khankah
Even simple prayers are incomprehensible, Shahid

At Naseem Bagh, your presence was ephemeral
Now, your absence is a spectacle, Shahid

Our laments are lost, our yearnings are empty
Grief— the source of all that is poetical, Shahid.

Fear has abandoned us; Hope has embraced us
Yours are the best words in our arsenal, Shahid

Your last illegible scrawl, an emblem of your name
The Beloved Witness, indelible, lovable, Shahid

Notes:
Khankah: Sufi shrine in Srinagar, Kashmir’s summer capital.
Naseem Bagh: a garden on the banks of Naseem Lake, where Kashmir University is located.

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