I know a thing or two
about refugees –

As a child I heard father
say, “We were sleeping
in the place we thought
was our country, till
the siren rang at dawn —
by dusk everyone learnt
how to spell refugee”

The sun abandoned all,
an exodus of ants fled
on fear’s soil, forgetting
close on their heels –
what they left behind
won’t remember them —
only refugees walk
on earth — leaving no

“When god gives up
on you,” said father,
“you die. But when
history tosses every-
one into the sea you
turn refugee”

Since then I follow
the fate of refugees
in my dreams — I
travel unwelcome
skies and cities – I
negotiate my stay
with folded hands

And I no longer see
what others see –
a door, a garden,
or a cigarette shop
– belonging to me


Manash Bhattacharjee

September 3, 2015, Delhi


Manash Bhattacharjee is an author and poet from Delhi. His poems have appeared in The London Magazine, New Welsh Review, The Fortnightly Review, Elohi Gadugi Journal, The Postcolonialist, George Szirtes’ Blog, Warscapes, First Proof: The Penguin Books of New Writing from India (Volume 5), The Missing Slate, The Little Magazine. His first collection of poetry, Ghalib’s Tomb and Other Poems (2013), was published by The London Magazine Editions.

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