“Kill Them in the Morning” by Tishani Doshi

Tishani Doshi


I’m trying to find where it says,
If your enemy comes to slay you at night,
kill them in the morning. What happens
in the hours of waiting? Do you sing
to one another across the trenches,
stargaze from casements, then set off
to duel at first light? What is it about the sun
rising that’s so self-righteous? The firstness,
the lightness? There’s an allegory somewhere
about a girl holding scissors encircled by soldiers
with guns. Don’t we know that the dragging
from trains takes place after dark, that wars
always happen offstage until they’re not? Summer
is almost upon us, romantic and lonely. I know,
I know, no tightrope-walking allowed between our house
and the neighbour’s. Haven’t you dreamed
of disappearing for a day, then returning
to life, triumphant? Wouldn’t you want
to know who missed you, who rejoiced?
The idea that there are no innocent people.
What colour would you call this hair
under the rubble? My enemy’s enemy
is an Ottoman couch. But we’re here now,
those of us alive, standing on the beach,
facing the rosy dawn—how it slip slaps us
into forgiveness, how we turn the other cheek.

from Poets Respond
March 17, 2024


Tishani Doshi: “Not sure there are any explanations. How must we be alone, how must we be together?” (web)

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