People of the Ocean

a poem by Vaishali Paliwal

I built this house with bare hands

Now in flames I leave it behind
I carry the keys
I was named by my grandmother
Her last prayer was in these beads
I carry her rosary
I never signed up for a God
My fate when sealed with forbidden voyage

I picked the holy books
My lover was lost in black dawns
There was never a vow
I carry the ring
Human life I am being told
Is same everywhere
But world’s prayers are selective
No child left behind
But mine sleeps on fences
Time now asks me
To get on this boat
It is heavy

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