Poems for the theme REFUGEE


Prerna Bakshi


(First published in Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture)

A broken glass bangle

laying on the street

asks more questions than it answers

An abandoned home

situated right in the middle of the neighborhood

asks more questions than it answers

A segregated neighborhood

that eludes the naked eye

asks more questions than it answers

Broken glass bangles, abandoned homes, segregated neighborhoods,

all legacies of Partition

Partition – asks more questions than it answers


(First published in Sick Lit Magazine)

My Uncle tells me when the calls

for Partition filled the anxious air,

everything was up for partition,

not just the land.

Nothing remained outside

its purview.

Everything was to be partitioned.

Including water.

On a railways platform,

shouts of Hindu water, Muslim water

could be heard as fleeing refugees

searched through their ragged pockets

to fish out a few coins in exchange for water.

The journey was long. Not everyone

made it to the other side


Those who did had their thirst quenched

but what about the water? What quenched its thirst?

If water could speak,

it would confess its thirst.

Its thirst for peace.

Thirst for sanity.

Thirst for to leave it

the fuck alone.

Gone and buried

(First published in Sick Lit Magazine)

They floated away

like flimsy paper boats.

Like lost fireflies.

Like chiffon saree pallus and duppattas

with the wind.

They were buried like unsent letters

hiding away, stuffed at the back of a wardrobe.

Like trapped bodies

under a pile of disaster rubble.

Like precious treasures buried in the backyard by refugees

before they eventually have to flee.

These floated away, buried stories

of the many women – when will they be heard?

When will the smell of their stories

fill the stiff air?

When will their stories get dug

out of the rubble

so they could bear witness

to the past and present.

Let women narrate their

stories themselves.

Let the bloody stench of their stories

choke you,

gag you a little.

Let the secrets be unburied.

Let the demons of these women’s lives

haunt you a little.


Prerna Bakshi is a writer, poet and activist, who splits her time between India and Macao. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of the recently released full-length poetry collection, Burnt Rotis, With Love, long-listed for the 2015 Erbacce-Press Poetry Award in the UK, which is available to order here. Her work has been published widely, most recently in Red Wedge Magazine, Off the Coast, Kabul Press, TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism and Peril magazine: Asian-Australian Arts & Culture, as well as anthologized in several collections. Find out more about her at http://prernabakshi.strikingly.com


By Rukhaya MK.

When I was young
my older siblings
taught me to play hangman
But even in his death
I was creating him,
and here -
even before someone's birth
we kill him.
Lifeline's cut
even before they begin
forgetting how
the bottommost rung
is the base.

Brooks once said
the mother is also
the one who doesnt give birth,
overlooking something worse
than abortion-
giving birth and then
treating him a stepson
-a refugee in one' s own country-
reducing him
to a vote
to a number
a thing.
Essence precedes existence..

“REFUGEE” poem

The immigrant experience

For a refugee word in a poem is

Solitary confinement

In the prisons of syntax.

The immigrant experience

For a refugee word in a poem is

The dysfunctional mating call

Tethered to stable of phonetics.

The immigrant experience

For a refugee word in a poem

Is being in the dock

For outraging the modesty of a poetic form.

The refugee word

Feels alienated amidst phrases

Conniving a quorum

To purge “immigrant word”

Into interstices of the swastika.

A poem by Chandramohan .S



My Voice | Poetry At Our Time | In The Name Of Poetry | Editor's Choice | Our Masters
Who We Are | Back Issues | Submission | Contact Us | Home