Gatha – The word means a ‘ballad’ or a ‘story-poem’ in Punjabi



Each time he sights a                        ship
passing into absence
Blood comes out of his nose
and his lips
recite Komagata Maru


Each time he assumes                  silence
some crew-like thing keeps
rising from un-italicized
shores. Filling the land with
cast iron taste and smell


Small waves, saline fish                 starry
drops of  water acquire
a voice then
Of course unsinkable


Each time it is                                       told
It feels like a story
at the right moment


In one ironic re-telling
a crisp chorus of                                   376
The vessel superbly navi-
gated by Wade Grant
of the Musqueam                  Indian Band:


‘We would have                              embraced
the ship                                         passengers
much as we welcomed                 Europeans
We are impacted by the same             racist
policies                                         and we feel
the same                                                  pain
passed                                    to generations’


And you? Tell me your                      story