Small fingers brittle like twigs,
Skin thin as parchment paper,
Shriveled hands wrinkle like figs,
That lie in the sun after days’ failure.

A mouth, pale and half open,
Yearns for milk never sipped,
Saliva ceases to drool out of a dry well,
That waits in slow and still awe.

Then life meets with ground too soon,
Before knees graze its surface to crawl,
A light bundle of white is buried, on top lie boulders,
Empty chaos pulses as
A heavy load is off a mother and father’s shoulders.

And yet,
Those small wide eyes that stare out of sockets,
Those black pearls that fix on me sans tears,
Are green flowers that grow amidst missile rockets,
And Yemen's crumbling dust and years.

Muneeza Sheikh (2016)

Written in memory of five-month-old baby Udai Faisal who, like thousands of others, died of starvation and acute malnutrition during the Yemen Civil War.



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