Dreaming in Gallipoli, WWI, 1915
by Bakul Banerjee
“Under the padded quilt he closed his eyes”*
to dream of his bride left behind in Punjab.
In the stone cottage, it smelled of dry clay
where rain was rare, and it never snowed.
With her friends, his child-bride was running.
In the muddy trench, he was used to the stench
of dry blood and rotting flesh. The dream
of returning to his far-away village recurred.
He wished to play hide and seek with the girl
in wheat fields. The sky whispered a song of snow.
If that day ever came, he would stuff himself
with his mother’s corn bread, hot and smoking.
He must never tell his bride about the tricks
he learned from loose, city women of Europe.
*A Quote from W.H. Auden