War Child

Kamal Chowdhury

War-child looking for mother. Mother remains a face in the mist
Cannot erase that accursed birth-mark, so
many children in the world come in search of mothers.

After each war, the sun rises as usual and rain falls, too.
The bloodstains eventually dry.
But countless truths remain hidden, they must.
Some of those who survive the maternity ward
even after two or three decades
return with countless questions
want to wipe away mothers’ shame.

Mother is perhaps a disconsolate star in the distant sky.
Or somewhere else a face hidden behind leaves.
The war-mother is still fleeing
that fear, that hatred, that violence.
In the face of a child’s questions,
the fleeing feet bleed invisibly.
Only identity is stripped.
Even after two or three decades,
waves are crashing against the Bay of Bengal.

There are many mothers on that coast, many children.
But war-children are the offspring of none.

Translated by Pushpita Alam

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