Back to Issue Twenty-Eight.

Postcard from Amritsar


In April 1919, British military fired over 1,600 rounds on Indian civilians and pilgrims gathered to celebrate the spring harvest at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, Punjab. The British claimed the death toll at 379. Indian sources estimated the toll to be over 1,000.

Sister, the world says we own nothing
our blood hasn’t spilled to earn. Anything

we bleed they reclaim. Your bare brick-scratched arm
swings past the machine of city, of country. To survive

you leap into a dark well, echo empty where
bullet casings cannot follow the body. You carry

a solitary stream within, one that flows lit with sun,
green ducks, plastic bags, dirty socks, scattered

leaves, one that babbles joyful nonsense.
                                                               I dreamed,

last night, a river dammed with rust.
When I woke, a raven wailed

outside my window. The wail outlasts
the dream; the stream survives its source.

Rushi Vyas was named a finalist for the 2018 National Poetry Series and runner-up for the 2018 Indiana Review Poetry Prize. He holds a B.S. from the University of Michigan and an MFA from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Recent poems can be found in Alaska Quarterly Review, Tin HouseWaxwing, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Thought Erotic, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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