My bastard child

Itisha Giri | September 15, 2015
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You – my bastard child,

you have learnt to speak, after years –

in words –

that are too big for you and

too foreign to my ears.

A giant leap for the frog you were

at the bottom of my well.


You – my bastard child

you speak of human lives and dignity

but you lived yours like a stray dog

on my fields, licked my feet

and called me master.


You – my bastard child

with your foreign tongue

you have yet to master my speech,

let’s find common ground

let’s talk in numbers.


I can spare one of you for 100 gas cylinders

two for 200 petrol tanks

three for 300 sacks of onions

and for taking 40 –

I will let your kind be remembered.

You – my bastard child

with your foreign tongue

your skin black like charcoal

and your skull under my boot,

go back to my lands and build monuments

for your martyrs –

on my blood-stained borders.

Get down on your knees and wipe that slate clean,

come back to me when the blood dries –

I will let you sit on my table and

feed you leftover scraps of my meal.


You – my bastard child –

tame that foreign tongue,

be silent, do not speak,

do not let your mind wander –

do not forget, my child –

you are a number.


One response to “My bastard child”

  1. Ellie Walsh says:

    I was just writing a commentary to this great poem but realised partway through that I refer to the subject “bastard child” as a girl, despite the fact that there is no mention of gender in the poem. Itisha, I wonder if you had any gender in mind when you wrote the poem? Do you think it is significant, and changes the meaning in any way, depending on whether it is read as boy or girl?

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