Winter 2024 • Vol. XLVI No. 1 PoetryDecember 5, 2023 |

Song in a Time of Revolution: A Ghazabun

Between 1996 and 2006, an internal conflict between the government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) left at least 13,000 people dead and 1,300 missing, and an estimated 200,000 displaced. Eighth grade. I went to learn the harmonium. I returned after the war. I did not. We flew the exam paper planes. We burned the textbooks on the school’s corrugated zinc roof. I left Bahini to graze the buffaloes and climbed Nagarjun shirtless to join the Formation. After the training, I didn’t wear the uniform for two days. I was afraid I’d soil it. My fatigue fit me perfectly. My left boot had a bullet hole. All night I kept stroking the buckling’s throat. We sang because we were alive. We sang because we knew we would not live. I was the Class Topper. I was a third-year in tenth grade. My father couldn’t send me to Saudi, so I sent myself to the jungle. One day my father never came home. The ancestral plowshare I was whetting wasn’t going to summon rain. My ance

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Photo of Samyak Shertok

Samyak Shertok’s poems appear or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, Poetry, Best New Poets, Waxwing, and elsewhere. A finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, and the Jake Adam York Prize, Shertok has received fellowships from Aspen Words, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. His work has been awarded the Robert and Adele Schiff Award for Poetry, the Gulf Coast Prize in Poetry, and the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize. Originally from Nepal, Shertok holds a PhD in literature and creative writing from the University of Utah and is currently a Hughes Fellow in Creative Writing at Southern Methodist University.

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