Poetry: The Trail of Tears and Blood

Poet’s Note: This poem is loosely based on the incident of 12 Nepalese kidnapped and killed by an Iraqi terrorist group Ansar Al-Sunna in August 2004. The 12 Nepalese were trafficked into Iraq by a foreign employment agency as migrant workers. The migrant workers were promised jobs in a hotel in Jordon but were sent to Iraq where they were killed by Islamic terrorists.

The Trail of Tears and Blood

Father, are you still toiling in the farm

Or, has the season of plantation ended

I can smell the monsoon

And rain soaked earth!

Yes father, I know our oxen are old

They cannot pull the plow

When I come back, we will buy young beasts

And you don’t have to rant them to trot fast

I have thought their names too,

Kale and Sete

A perfect black and white pair!

Mother, we will get a water-buffalo

You nurtured me with your dry breast

It’s my duty to feed you milk and rice

Yes, I know Bhunte loves rice with butter

Even though he has never tasted it!

When I saw a nice pair of shoes

On the supermarket stacks

I thought of you father

Are you still wearing worn out shoes

Given by the landlord?

Mother, your hands and feet are cracked

Perhaps this cream will heel you

Since a year a two,

Suntali, you were asking for a red sari and a blouse

You will surely look gorgeous in this pink lipstick

Bhunte, my dear boy,

You will look like an American in this hat

No, I won’t bring you a gun, even if it is a toy

In my dream I see you riding a bicycle

And going to school

You must study

Be nice to your mother

But for a while you must endure master’s brutalities

Your papa will bring lots of money

And you won’t have to tend master’s animals

Suntali, I see your redden eyes

I can hear you coughing

Perhaps we can install a bio-gas plant

So that you don’t have cook in fire-wood

And clean charred kitchenware

Every night you cornered Bhunte

And crawled beside me

I feel your moist flesh

Your warm breath

In the morning Bhunte’s surprised face

Made me happy when he said

I was sleeping between father and mother

How come I’m in the corner?

Bhunte, in this autumn festival

We will sacrifice a goat

And take blessing from the Goddess

And will be thankful for all the things she has given to us

Yes, you can eat meat to your heart’s content.

There will be no need to suck

Left over bones from the master’s kitchen

Miles of sand before my eyes makes me dizzy

Then I see you mother walking towards me

An earthen water pot on your head

Yes, I remember my promise

We will buy a piece of land

A hand pump in the yard

You won’t have to walk a mile to get water

Father, we will have our own house to live in

Out roof will leak no more

We will have bed and mattress to sleep

Your back will pain no more

Mother you sold your gold nose ring

Suntali, you sold your silver bangles

Father, you mortgaged our land

To send me here in the Arabian Peninsula

I had never in my life seen so many bank notes

Of thousand denomination

You will have diamond studded ring on your nose, mother

Suntali, your bangles will be made of gold

Father, we will reclaim our land

Even buy that farm we sold when mother was sick

Suntali, my back burns

I had never imagined the sun could be so hot

I miss your caress

Even though your palms are rough

Bhunte, I’ll bring you chocolates

No-no don’t eat that half sucked chocolate

Master’s son gave to you

Father, I will buy you cigarettes

You don’t have to collect stubs

Take out the tobacco

Wrap on a dry leaf and smoke

Mother, I wish we could talk on telephone

Last time when I had called

Master’s wife scolded me

Saying she is not my servant to run errands

Suntali, you had promised me

You will not cry

But what is this, the pillow is wet!

Bhunte, when I come back

I’ll enroll you in a school

Where they teach ABCD

The English medium school

You will sit next to our master’s children

Wear clean clothes like them

Father, I see you

Mother, I hear you

Suntali, I smell you

Bhunte, I feel you

Even though my blood is drenching the sand!

Three shots were fired

I did not see their face,

Did not recognize their language

Was I America’s accomplice?

Did I help the United States by tending camel in desert?

I even did not know I was in Iraq

I thought I was in Jordan

To fulfill a simple dream

To feed my family two course meal!

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