Child on whose shoulders (A true story from Pakistan)

About to burst forth from his mouth  

A cry got muffled in his throat  

Someone had put a massive hand on his mouth  

He could only breathe through his clogged nose.  


Eleven years old, he felt helpless  

His hands were tied with a handkerchief  

His mouth was stuffed with a towel  

He had been turned on his belly  

A big burly man was raddling him  

Pulling his pajamas down  

When it got entangled, he tore it off his feet.  


Pitch dark it was all around  

Enveloped in dead silence  

Was the annex ted outhouse where he slept  

In the open courtyard on a rough cot.  

He could now smell the man on top of him.  

It was his cousin, ten years his senior.  


He suddenly knew that the sky had burst open  

The earth had countless leprosy patches  

A five-minute time span had put  

A life-long festering wound in his heart.  


The man on top of h m untied the handkerchief  

Took out the stuffing from his mouth  

Patted him on the back … and then  

The ghoulish shadow just slipped out of the yard  

And melted in the dark.  


He struggled to get up now that he was free  

The white cotton mat spread under him  

Had a round patch in the middle  

And his sinless mind had another splotch  

Oozing out pus … white, leprosy-like  

Isn’t this the child on whose soft body frame  

Today many of my generations stand in Pakistan.  

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