Letters to Pakistan

Oh Pakistan…

to watch your plains flood,

and your villages disappear,

your future drowning before your eyes,

death glistening under the sun,

waiting for you in the

months ahead…


Come to my house, Pakistan,

tell them to bring you to my house…

Somehow,

we will get along…


Dear Pakistan,

How my heart wrings and

twists into knots for you…

I want to come there,

to be there, to

lift you out of the

waters rising

over your heads,

to put up tents,

to cook, to clean, to…

to…

what?


I would only be

one more mouth to feed,

one more arm needing a vaccine,

one more body for anti-biotics…


No,

hand to hand contact

makes no sense, coming from

where I am…

I am here, without even

the money to get out,

let alone to get there –

money better spent,

better sent…


But I want to ship you my clothes,

my sheets,

my tent, my food stuffs,

vegetables and lentils,

water, sweet water,

and love…


Dear Pakistan,

I am not

a Muslim,

but I love Urdu,

Pashto,

Qawwali,

the call to prayer…

I am not a Muslim,

and you are

a Muslim state –

who knows how I’d fare in your hands,

me and my American woman ways –

but when one is

drowning, there is only

one, or some other

god to call on.

When children

have no food, no water,

no crops to grow,

are starving,

dying,

there is only

the hand of

some one, or some other

that can save, heal, feed

that child,

that adult,

that village,

that country…


Dear Pakistan,

For how long will your

thighs push through that water, as

the bodies of your families,

your neighbours, your animals

float bloated by,

dry out,

dessicated,

by the river side…?


And even when that water has

finally seeped into the Earth,

for how long

will your body feel

weighted,

bruised,

delirious,

hungry…?


Oh, I can send that ten, or twenty dollars,

(being of meager means myself)

but what good can it do?


Hah, you say,

that’s a week’s worth of food,

that’s three tents for three families,

that’s fuel for many fires,

and more…


But with those dollars,

I wish I could

touch your hand,

cook you a meal,

carry a burden for you,

wrap a dry blanket around

your shoulders,

give you a drink,

sing you a song,

rebuild your house,

keep you on your land…


Dear Pakistan,

I wish we could

scoop the water

out of your house

and give it all

to Syria.


Did you know

there’s a drought there?

No water, no rains

for four years…


Things are happening,

making people uproot,

and die.

Hard times,

hard

times…


Maybe we could build

special irrigation lines

all across the lands,

divert the too much water

to where there is none;

can’t we try that?


Someone should work on that:

Huge rain barrels

dispensing to pipelines

dispersing to dry cracked lands…


That way,

Syria could feed Pakistan, and

Pakistan could feed Syria, and

we could work this system out

everywhere.


How hard could that be?

Shouldn’t we try that?

We can get to the moon;

we can create

and drop

nuclear bombs;

but we can’t figure out

how to get

the water

out of Pakistan

and into Syria???


Dear Pakistan,

Who are you to me,

that I should be so

torn in two

seeing you

inundated,

drowning,

washed away into

the vastness,

the past,

the silence…?


Who am I to you

that I should care

so

much?

That my throat should

close up, my knees buckle,

and my body sob tears

at the sight of you,

trudging through;

that I should want to

put my hand out and

pull you up, to say

Here,

Come here,

to My house,

there’s plenty of room…


Dear Pakistan…

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One thought on “Letters to Pakistan

  1. The situation is heart-breaking, as is your poem. And then to hear of the Taliban threatening Western aid workers makes me want to rend my garments and scream.

    Your lines

    who knows how I’d fare in your hands,
    me and my American woman ways

    express my thoughts perfectly, as I watched the horrible videos of men and boys standing in endless lines for tents and rations. I felt such sorrow and pity; if they could return my gaze, what would they think of me? And why were there no women in line – surely there were widows, or women separated from their male kin?

    Like

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