Poetry / June 2013 (Issue 21)

Benezir Bhutto

by Matthew A. Hamilton

Muslim women do not drive cars.
I braced myself when I got behind the wheel.
Drove across the border into Pakistan.
The sun fell like a red marble
behind the toothy mountains.  

I parked in Musharraf’s driveway.
Felt the strength of the people
when I shook his hand.
Told him living in exile and walking up
and down up and down for freedom
for seven years rewards patience.

He smiled and offered me tea.
I slapped his hand away.

The world behind the black veil is unclear.
I removed it and stared at him.
He said that even if I ate grass for a thousand years
democracy would never grow here.

Bullets are more popular than votes.

The people demand liberation, I argued
and cannot wait for change any longer.
The people should decide my fate.
If death is what they want, stick a bomb
in my mouth and let my life end in a firestorm.

Musharraf sipped his tea and smiled
like God facing an enemy.
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