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  • Zoha Qureshi

The Refugee

Trapped in this sterile prison

Long after the sun has left the sky

My body convulsing in ways I’ve never known

Waiting for your arrival to come by


Mama, oh Mama, I need her now

In my fantasies she was with me

Witnessing the miracle of life

Her absence tonight stings terribly


I look to my right and I see

The man that I should love

Our bond fractured by the toll

Of our journey we don’t speak of


Our wedding, planned in haste

In the backdrop of war and bloodshed

And the lights and sounds around us

We imagined were fireworks instead


And suddenly we were running

Just as quickly as we were wed

Through deserts and mountains and oceans

Thousands of miles we fled


And you were also present

Cradled for months within my womb

Enduring the arduous trek

I fear I’ve given you an early tomb


Is it worth bringing you into this world?

You don’t deserve the cruelty

The suffering, the torture I’ve seen

May your innocence keep you free


Oh sweet child of mine

The irony is not lost, I wonder

You will be born in the very land

That tore mine asunder


The doctors and nurses around me

Envelop me with their foreign cries

Their message gets across though

With the intensity in their eyes


I try to push and push and push

But my body has betrayed me

Ravaged by the toll of my escape

But for you I must gather my energy




And then

A startling, loud cry

Like music to my ears

Amazing how one tiny human

Can dissolve all my fears

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