Gaza Strip: The Window

by Bibhu Padhi (October 2014)

What do your eyes find outside

those window-bars, across

the afternoon road, daughter?

They look so visible, so very sad through

looking at a suddenly blinding sun

for so long, it is intolerable to me.

On the road, death’s horizontal pressure

shows. What if you haven’t turned your face

away from Palestine? There is someone yet

at a farther window, looking on

just as you do, at her very own

spilled, riviera-red blood on the earth’s

darkly volcanic, mideastern floor.

You are quietly learning

the mechanics of the intolerable;

your face has creased into time’s

rough, night-like folds, holding

the mystery of your being where you are.

You shall teach me the next lesson

in my textbook of life, and what

bits and pieces of mad bodies

it includes so imaginatively.

A few trees are going through

another, farther madness, with

a never-seen-before green where I live,

inside my middle-age fear.

Yet somewhere else, someone

is quietly celebrating the true flower

of marriage on his forty-sixth year.

Perhaps the one with the top hat

beside you, has seen it all earlier–

his got-used look looks less troubled.

Daughter:  Learn to be kind when

you grow up–to me, the numerous

many I love, and to yourself.

Never get used to the intolerable,

never hurt yourself, that angel-body.

And then, you will teach me how to pray,

cherish life, how to blame the too visible day.




Bibhu Padhi’s eighth and ninth books of poetry, Magic Ritual and Brief Seasons: 60 Love Songs, appeared almost back to back earlier this year. He lives with his family in Bhubaneswar, India.


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