War: A One Way Street, poetry by Kalpna Singh-Chitnis at Spillwords.com

War: A One Way Street

War: A One Way Street

written by: Kalpna Singh-Chitnis



Driving in my town, I imagine
sirens blaring, tanks rolling,
and guns, pointing at people resisting.

I see no dove flying in the sky.
The olive trees are eradicated
from every corner of the earth.

I shiver in fear like a leaf on an amputated branch.
My children are home, but I can’t turn around.
War is a one-way street. We can only pull back.

The hospitals are filled with injured and charred bodies.
The buildings and homes are engulfed in fire.
I have no weapon to fight. I may not return home tonight.

War is a phenomenon, the accumulation of our actions.
What goes in our minds manifests in the world.

The idea of who we are is not limited to our narrow discretion.
I’m a person, and a nation, an ally, and an adversary.

I’m a woman raped and mutilated by my enemies.
And a limb hanging from the window of a building struck.

I’m a fallen soldier who died defending his country.
And my slayer does not know what he is fighting for.

I am bent like the little girl, pulled up by force on the last train
about to leave the station, bound to a foreign land.

I’m the agony of a father in exodus, without his sons and daughters.
I’m a sorrow, frozen in the eyes of a young girl who presses her palm

against the windowpane of a train to touch the hands of the men
staying behind to fight for their country.

I’m the blood crusted snow after a night of
heavy shelling on my city falling.

There is no glory in a war. Every home has a shrine.
A war cannot be defined. It can only be lived or imagined.

Kalpna Singh-Chitnis

Kalpna Singh-Chitnis

Kalpna Singh-Chitnis is a Pushcart Prize nominated, multiple award-winning Indian-American poet, writer, filmmaker, and author of four poetry collections. Her works have appeared in notable journals such as World Literature Today, Columbia Journal, California Quarterly, Indian Literature, Silk Routes Project at (IWP) The University of Iowa, Stanford University's Life in Quarantine, etc. Her works have been translated into fourteen languages. Poems from her award-winning book Bare Soul and her poetry film “River of Songs” have been included in the "Nova Collection" and the "Polaris Collection" Lunar Codex time capsules to go on the moon with NASA's "Nova-C lander missions to Oceanus Procellarum" in 2022 and "NASA VIPER rover mission to the Lunar South Pole" in 2023. A former lecturer of Political Science, she is also the Editor-in-Chief of Life and Legends, the Translation Editor of IHRAF Literary, and an Advocacy Member of the United Nations Association of the USA. Her forthcoming poetry collection
Trespassing My Ancestral Lands is in the making.
Kalpna Singh-Chitnis

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