Vietnam (a poem) by Zehra Nigah


By Zehra Nigah

(A war-time song of the children being born)


Ever since my eyes opened

I have only ever seen flames rain down in this world

From the womb of this trench

I learned to live and to stay alive

I learned to bear every pain and torment

Ever since I learned to speak

My lips have spoken these words

This roof that covers my slum—will it ever be blue?

Will stars ever twinkle in it?

And when will milk turn clouds into whatever I imagine

And when will the brightest sun allow me to clutch them in my fists

When will I run in the fields to kiss a gust of wind

Or caress the cold of the moon with my fingers

I’ve heard it said

I believe it, too

There are no chains on the sun, moon, wind.

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