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Kashmiri Bedtime Story

Arya Vishin

in america there is nowhere for me to learn the kashmiri
language but in all the theatres nearby a film with the byline

this film does not claim accurateness or factuality entrances
my indian peers in its fiction, has them crying praises of

the world’s largest democracy. western professors ask where
the resistance is in poems that avoid violence while young

revolutionaries talk of blood-red conflict & the sides they’ve
chosen as informed by instagram. my father used to speak of

saffron as his favourite colour but lately it’s been all blue &
grey. there is no need to invent monsters in kashmir but there

is bram bram chok, a wolf or a ghost or simply dark & monstrous
& mystical. I’ve heard no one ever sees the body—we can only

tell stories through layers of separation like how I speak of the
memory of the chinar in the abstract—because when the traveler

sees it he’s led from the snow into the empty night to never
return. the fact remains that we know something burns in its eyes

always, that you’d see the blazing lantern sclera on top of its
head through the dark, always looking up, always reflecting

kashmir on fire

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