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Sunday, June 06, 2021


by Indran Amirthanayagam

A Palestinian girl in the rubble of her home in Gaza.Credit: Fatima Shbair/Getty Images via The New York Times, June 2, 2021

Who controls the narrative, the media space, the buzz?
Who dominates headlines, chats with editors, balances
the story? Who reduces trauma to numbers, who has not
experienced pulverizing stones, his parents' home razed
at close hand? You and I who read together in safe
countries, saved by fleeing parents in search of peaceful
neighborhoods to raise their children. Now, we face a cousin
across the water crying I want to be a doctor, a nurse,
to save my family, now this. What am I to do with this?
With this stone, this shrapnel, this broken washbasin?
What am I to do, to play hide and seek with ghosts?
Do something, people. Stop the killing now. Stop
the killing here, everywhere. Stop the killing.
The poem has a purpose, these words are not useless.

Indran Amirthanayagam writes in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole. He has 19 poetry books, including The Migrant States (Hanging Loose Press, 2020) and Sur l'île nostalgique (L'Harmattan, 2020). Indran Amirthanayagam's Blue Window/ Ventana Azul, translated by Jennifer Rathbun,  is about to be published by Lavender Ink/Diálogos Books. In music, he recorded Rankont Dout. He edits The Beltway Poetry Quarterly, is a columnist for Haiti en Marchewon the Paterson Prize, and is a 2020 Foundation for the Contemporary Arts fellow.