Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Reclaiming skies

my family has history with the sky / my father bought us his childhood kites / if you cannot go home, bring home with you / my mother told us that our grandfathers’ souls are there / that one day, ours will be too / that the sky will reunite my family / my brother and I were impatient / didn’t want to wait until death to live there / he loved planes, and I wished to be a bird / we both dreamed of flight / drew freedom in the stars / imagine my shock when I realized / I am the daughter of a country that fears the sky / it is estimated that an average of 28 people die / for every intended target of the drone program / for every target / 28 innocent men, women, and children / made into human sacrifices / there are those who defend the drone program / as though a weapon of destruction is what needs protection here / they say my people teach their youth hatred / they neglect to mention / drones birth orphans parented by fear / marked as living martyrs / collateral damage / ghosts walk the earth as scarred children / carrying the remains of shattered kin / we have done the impossible: raised Pakistani children to be afraid of the sky / the place we believed our final haven / and still, they survive / they play soccer, they play cricket / on ground stained with blood / with soldiers for referees / with the drone’s camera filming the instant replay / but war is not shamed by irony / we cheer for Malala / while bombing the very people she is trying to protect / pretend this is not counterproductive / we give millions in aid money / call it philanthropy / the most effective chains are made from green paper / corrupt politicians refuse to build drainage systems / half of Pakistan is flooding / yet the other half dies of drought / when will my people / cease to be killed a thousand different ways / to learn a thousand different lessons? / when will my people / cease to be the shards of a vase called empire? / our language: a mix of dozens of others / our fractured families spread over continents / remind the world that we are all connected / remind this country / we will have to pay for stolen souls / the drones do not kill terrorists / they only perpetuate them / for each murdered innocent / has a loved one seeking revenge / the Taliban taught us that to fly kites is a privilege / the drones taught us that to love the sunset is a privilege.

Mah-ro Khan is a student, scientist, and writer affiliated with Spitshine Poetry. She writes because she cannot defeat her demons with swords. She has been previously published in Blue Minaret and is currently learning how to live life at the University of Texas at Austin.