“What Do Birds Do When Bombs Go Off” by Shah Tazrian Ashrafi

When bombs rattle the insides of houses, cafes, churches,

Twisting and turning their intestines,

Hurling their insides out,

Bleeding them dry,

What do the birds do?

Other than shooting out of the neighboring Banyan’s crown—

An aerial procession;

A procession of feathers, beaks, talons, and shrieks.

Do they move on about their lives?

Or do they play with the souls of the dead mid air,

Wheeling and un-wheeling,

Drifting like roller coasters without tracks

Like the sky is theirs,

Consoling their eternal loss with bird songs,

Pressing soft feathers on their wounds,

Communicating in a language that connects them like a bone marrow—

A bridge between the birds and the human souls,

Before the dead are swallowed by the sky’s gaping mouth?


Shah Tazrian Ashrafi is a high school student currently residing in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He writes for The Daily Star, a leading English newspaper of his country. An avid reader of Southasian fiction, he can often be found fanboying over Arundhati Roy.

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