Our Fractured World

by - 4:47 PM

It feels like barbed wire 

Dragging through the heart 

A soft heart tormented 

By the sights and sounds of injustice 

Weep, my poor soul


I spoke to a woman today 

Asking how her family is keeping warm

In the wintry Kabul cold

With embarrassment, she said,

I don’t even have a bukhari (Afghan-style heater)

I thought I misheard her.

So I asked if she has wood for burning. 

She shakes her head sadly, “I have nothing.”

I am astonished. 

I know that air pollution here is marked “hazardous” because many poor families burn low-quality fuel and even things like plastic and trash to keep warm. 

But I am struck by this hard reality today 

in the face of this humble woman. 


It is like barbed wire 

Dragging through the heart

When you realise men who mount faceless attacks

With rockets and bombs and bullets:

Are burning money up and killing their own flesh and blood. 

In the name of what? 

How dare they! 

Robbing mothers of sons and daughters

In broad daylight! 

There is money for weapons,

But no money to keep warm for winter? 

There is money for warmongering,

But no money to build schools?

There is money for selfish gain,

But no money for generous giving?


There is nothing but sadness,

And righteous anger:

This terrible waste of life. 

This languishing. 

This anguish of the blood-soaked soil. 

I read something today, it said, “Everything else is getting expensive, only life is cheap.” 

I weep with the voiceless who suffer in the cold. 

While all around is terror

Let me be the one thing I know:

His hands and feet in a fractured world.

Photograph by Janielle, taken at Shahrak Haji Nabi mountain.

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