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Shades her eyes from the sun;
growing weaker by the hour,
she stoops to quench her thirst;
the stench of death makes her sick
but still she drinks. The Indus
used to be her friend – on its banks
she bathed, washed their clothes –
where they built their home.


Her makeshift shelter swept away,
through the mists of her tears
she looks in disbelief at the river
that, overnight, became her foe.
Swelled by relentless monsoon rain,
its insatiable greed increasing day
on day – consuming, cattle and crops,
bridges, shops and roads.


Fields and orchards – a week ago
rich in rice and fruit, submerged
by turgid waters; a timber pier
where their tiny boat was moored
to cut the reeds that once they sold –
reduced to so much flotsam. Tables,
chairs, pictures...bloated bodies,
float downstream.


Through swirling mud, and debris
of theirs’ and other people’s lives –
she wades, waist deep; searching
for her child; his father she buried
yesterday. On her head, a bundle,
a few dry clothes for Ibrahim – all
she could save, but more precious
than pure gold.


She prays for aid to come,
but even then, when the floods
do recede, her fight for survival
carries on in a world where man
is his own worst enemy. ‘Amen’,
sticks in her throat...Deep inside,
her unborn son kicks, impatiently,
at her ribs. ‘His will be done,’
she whispers.