“Roots” by Shah Tazrian Ashrafi

The villages grew wings
Out of their water hyacinth-fringed backs
And took flight
Towards the heart of a hot, busy, concrete-skinned metropolis 
That had the hands of steel, heart of iron, teeth of gravel.

So as they—
Birds with uprooted roots hanging from their talons,
Jiving to the rhythm of the hot wind—
Took flight,
The city gaped its gunmetal mouth—
A raucous mechanical crater—
All ready to swallow the birds, clip their wings,
Change their skins, pluck out their talons, 
Grind their beaks to dust.

Till they can’t recognize themselves
Till they forget what they were, their words,
Till they forget their riverine, 
mountainous, 
sun-kissed, 
forest-kissed, 
roots.


Shah Tazrian Ashrafi is from Bangladesh, a 12th grader appearing for his final board exam this April. He is a budding writer and writes for a youth based magazine called SHOUT of his country’s leading English newspaper, The Daily Star. He got into writing in the year 2016. When he was a beginner, he would face soul crushing rejections by the magazine he currently works for. But as he persevered, a year later, he became a part of the coveted magazine. What helped him the most during the unmerciful onslaught of rejections was the fact that he had to read the works of writers if he wanted to be a writer. He was constantly told to read everything that he could. So he did. And now, he is extremely happy with how reading has shaped him, designing his beliefs, nourishing him as a writer, giving him a third eye to look into things, and making him fall in love with authors like Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, Tahmima Anam, Fatima Bhutto etc. Arundhati Roy tops the list though. He is heavily inspired by her.

https://www.thedailystar.net/author/shah-tazrian-ashrafi

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