She cries in pain,
Mother, hold me tight,
I feel cold.
Mother tells her,
It is not cold,
It is the icicles making you chill.
She laments,
Mother, hold me tight.
It is darker than the night around,
Mother tells her,
It is not the night that is dark.
It is the burnt coal surrounding the village.
She whispers,
Mother, hold me tight
I feel thirsty in tidal waves,
Mother tells her,
It is not the jhelum that is aroar,
It is the gush of the verinag that is sore
She screams,
Mother, hold me tight,
I can’t breathe,
Mother tells her,
It is not the air that has become dusty,
It is the boots of a man throttling your throat.
She sighs,
Mother, hold me tight,
I can’t move,
Mother tells her,
It is not the thunder stopping you,
It is the trigger killing you.
Mother, hold me tight,
I can’t see you,
Mother tells her,
Stay calm my child until I pick pellets from your eyes.
Mother sobs and screams.
Hiba holds mother tight and sings a lullaby.

Nayeema Ahmad Mahjoor is associated with Independent Urdu and author of “Lost in Terror”


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