Yasmin Ullah, 15 February 2023


At the shore
Wave after wave
Crashing against rocks
Carrying news
From faraway.

I sat
On one side
This water
So vast
We are
Oceans apart.

How do I
The distance?
How do I
Pull you in
Closer to my chest?
How do I?
Embrace your shaking body
How do I?

At my feet
Waves crashing
My people
Whose life revolves
Around water
Vast ocean
Doesn’t seem to
As a safe haven

Is that why
God sent you
The earth

Is that why
Keeps coming back?
Is that why
Your life
Like the Exodus
In the parting red sea?
Where is Moses!
While we flee.

Were we meant to drown?
In this violent
Cycle of floods
Frightened and cold
In our flimsy
Bamboo shelters
With no anchor to hold.

Were our children’s feet
Never meant to
Touch the ground?
Is our life
Too indignant
To remain
In part or in whole?

Was this water
Of our ancestors?
Were these Waves
At my feet
A prayer
From those lost at sea?

Waves crashing
At my feet,
Tears flowing
In my heart.

How do I,
Save you?
How do I,
Swim across
The vast ocean
Catching you
From falling
Rescue you
From this life?
In this sea
of misery.

How do I?

While Pharaohs roams free
Tied down by your knees
While they exploit your riches
Left at the mercy of their greed
Hold counsels to discuss your
While you beg to be free

How do I tell them?
“Don’t call us,
Boat people”
Seeking refuge
In the dark depth
of this Earth
Was never
Ours to choose!
Call us
The People
Embraced by water,
Even when
It swallows
Us whole
Again and again.
The water
Still far safer
Than dry land
By tyrants.

When we drown
Our sorrow
Our pain
Our breath
Turns insignificant
Unlike bullets
By Pharaohs
Unlike deafening silence
Of bystanders
Unlike broken promises
Of safety.
Water is
The hole
In our chest
Was it meant
To be filled?

Perhaps water
Come to mend
Our sorrow,
There will
Never be
A parting sea,
We are meant
To Swim
The Earth
Round and round,
Since water
Is our safest place
Of refuge,
When the land
Is filled
With heartaches.

The waves crash
At my feet
Are they calling
Me back home?

A prayer
A safe place
No human ever will
Grant us
So the people,
Of water
Must return
To water.

The Waves crash
As we fall
How do I
Erase your pain?
How do I
Stop this flood?
How do I
Lift you up
As we drown?
How do I?
How do I…