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Sunday, November 05, 2017


by Mark Tarren

Kulsuma Begum, 40, a Rohingya refu­gee, cries while recounting her story at Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. She said that her daughter was missing and that her husband and son-in-law were killed by Burmese soldiers. Photo source: Hannah Mckay/Reuters via The Washington Post, October 29, 2017.

We are the sea
of people

that flows from Rohingya
to Bangladesh.

We are the sea
of colour

red veils
shirts of saffron
violet dresses
that flows through green
banked rivers.

We are water.
There is mud and hunger
in our footprints

they call us insects
they call us

The Floating People.

We live in our

shared Book of Stories
so that our children will know
where they came from

our shared drawings
our songs
our taranas.

Where we remember home.

We are life. We are sky.
We are air.

When they burnt our babies alive
we looked to the east
towards Arakan
to the mountains of Arakan Yoma
and remembered many things

the colour of rooftops
where we had dried food

the colour of fields
where we once loved

the colour of turmeric and chilis

it is the colour of fire.

Mark Tarren is a poet and writer based in Queensland, Australia. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary journals including The Blue Nib, Poets Reading The News, and Street Light Press.