During my labor period as a child
in Iran’s reconstruction industry,
I put Daddy’s worn,
long Afghani shalwar kamiz on
while carrying heavy parcels
of cements on my shoulders
pretending to be a strong man;
a tough man perhaps, like Daddy
though I am only a seven-year-old
I hold my little Afghani chest forward
like a brave soldier in a foreign land
and pushing fast the cart of sand
though my stomach is empty,
and heart is broken, and saddened
with drops of tears stuck in the chamber of my eyes,
holding them tight right there not letting them
to be wasted in this unfamiliar… unkind land.
Trying to demonstrate that
I am not a weak kid but rather
a proud Hazara warrior child
who is taught by his father
to always walk with head high
even if its cut and left on your bare palms.
when the scale of affliction overwhelms
my limit of endurance, I choose to I cry….
but I cry only on the roof-top though
to make sure, no one sees my tears,
because I don’t want to reveal my weakness
though I’m an abandoned child with no guardian…
I don’t want to embarrass my Father,
or his prideful name as his little ambassador!
I show a strong face instead
because my litter shoulders now carry
almost the same amount of sands
in this cart as of other adults…
So, in the evenings
when I return to my brick-made bed
under these blueberry trees in Kand area,
I lay there as if I am on a king-size bed!
I put my arms under my head to make it a little softer
while counting each leaf being stroke
by the cold Autumn’s breeze.
As my eyes close out of exhaustion,
my spirit returns to my hometown’s tall mountain,
and then lands on my mad-made rooftop
like a migrant bird.
I see my little sisters running around Mum,
my brother I see, collects blueberries & apricots
while Daddy is laying back and having black tea.
These sudden thoughts make me quickly wake up to join them
but I see nothing, except a pitiless aloneness with some
drops of cold tears stuck in suspension on my little cheeks.
I sit down and quickly wipe out my tears,
and then, I open my little packsack,
smelling this little handkerchief
with which my mother tight my waist when I left.
It is just to divert my thoughts and heal
my desperate feeling of loneliness, grief,
and create my own version of happiness
in this cold embrace of exile and separation.
I hold on my little sister’s bloodied ribbon,
I smell it and put it on my eyes and cry,
this is how I can hear her laughter, and
imagine her little sweet smile & chuckles.
My elder brother’s chadar (Long garment)
is with me too but stained red just like
the bandage on his right wounded toe…
however, when the night falls,
& the darkness spreads it scary wings,
my thought turns to become the same –
I feel more scared, and lonelier…
At night, I often cry at my sleep,
I can hear the stomping feet of murderous men
marching in my village with their faces covered
by black dirty turbans…
I hear the humming of drones,
the shrieking sand and the sliding stones
as their missiles land around my home…
The battle has shifted its position now,
it is fought in my mind –
This little childhood mind
has turned into a battleground.
I see people are running,
and my siblings are among them.
I see the image of darted faces of abandoned kids,
the damage, blasted skulls of humans
laying lifeless in their own blood,
pieces of flesh hanging here and there…
the thick layers of smoke waving high.
There is no cease, not a comfort…
as I lay helpless under these scary trees,
on hard bricks with no light –
while hearing the soundtrack of my death
approaching has a frightening sound…
I don’t want to see my village anymore,
neither its beloved apricot trees,
or smell the fresh fragrance of ripe peach,
because they don’t yield back
from that toxic soil anymore…
I only pray to see my parents,
and my siblings once more;
dreaming of a peaceful and free world
where children like my little brother & sisters
don’t have to grow up under a chemical sky;
a world where women like my mother,
would never have to cry.
Though I am just a child,
I have a high dream, unlike others.
Though the stones that I play with
are bricks, ceramics, or parcels of sands…
my hopes are unbeatable, & unbreakable…
By: Abdul Samad Haidari
(03/08/2019 – 12:30am,