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You will live long enough

Did you seek the kingdom? Will the kingdom come?

the idea of it here—breaks like the hand caught in the door

—that quick unburdening to see the hurt before you feel it, a letting

go which will not come again; or it will once and for all.


You were a ghost in the afternoon before the guards even stopped—the corpse-pile an earthen courtesy where they perform a recital of known events.


You were a pupil in the night school you walked—smoke-smudged

the aftermath on the move, the twilight a-hover.


Will you live long enough to find an elsewhere world beyond maps & lines?

Will you live the dream given by the hand that cut where the door shut without possibility of reopening; somehow will you dare? I will not be there to hold your head—your distant eyes surrounded by the past—to save you remembering how they looked at you again and open, will the earth open, will those who lock on to you let the openings which are chance forms—money, blanket, car trunk, water—which knows not yet the form it will in the end be? Will there be waiting at each station? Will there be a day you think back to the way it could have been for the first time they arrived at the border to call you, firing over the line into the skin of the unknown—nameless ghosts were born and shots in the distance scattering deep—will you know whose wake, where?


Sibani Sen teaches creative writing and South Asian history. She has a PhD in Indology from Harvard University and an MFA from Boston University. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of publications including Off the Coast, Nixes Mate Review, Rogue Agent, and Main Street Rag. She has done collaborative projects with the History Design Studio at the Harvard Hutchins Center, the Concord Museum, the Beacon Street Arts Studios in Somerville, the former Green Street Studio in Cambridge, and the pop-up New Rasa Initiative group at the Public Theater in NYC. Her current projects based on migration and feminism include forthcoming poetry and a monograph on the Indian pre-modern poet Bharatchandra.


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