A Wound Unhealed by Time

By Nikita Bhardwaj
11th grade, Princeton Day School, NJ

With lines from "The Terrorist Who Got Away" by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

land of emerald valleys
and snow-capped mountains,
a wound unhealed by time:
Kashmiri's are silenced until
their prayers draw blood,
dismembering nations
and cleaving trenches where
vessels used to be.

we call the blood drenching a woman's
wails vermillion, and leave the tears
winding down her face to
pool in the crook between
India and Pakistan,
between pride and peace.

don't be a fool,
this is not some petty squabble, some
childish dust-up on the playground—
no, this is a war: of identities,
of faith, of history.

we let water seep into ancient bones.
the blood of the covenant runs thin here,
so tread lightly; some say this kingdom
has been cursed from birth.

men browned by the sun
in fields of saffron rasp
jihad like a war cry,
like a cry for help, as they
don their fatigues and
clutch their rifles; this is
War till Victory.

Nikita Bhardwaj
Nikita Bhardwaj

Nikita Bhardwaj is a rising high school senior from Princeton, NJ. As co-editor-in-chief of  The Aurora Review and an editor for her school newspaper, she hopes to use poetry and creative writing as devices to speak out on social issues.

Read more winning entries from the 2020 Fighting Words Poetry Contest