From Rafah’s Football Stadium in the perilous belt of Gaza…


Worn-out players practicing their way into hopelessness,

Demanding our absence,

Threatening us every day,

We’ve to leave soon,

Only to escape dire consequences,

But, I know, and so does my husband,

With eight kids to feed,

We, simply couldn’t go astray,

Rafah’s Football Stadium is our new home,

With my husband and my children,

I dwell in the dressing room,

We just ran out of choice, a few months ago,

No more do we have a place to stay,

A roof to seek shelter under,

Homeless Palestinians with a dim future in Gaza…

Three months ago,

We woke up to the sound of Israeli tanks and bulldozers,

They were looking for tunnels underneath our residences,

Arms were being smuggled in from Egypt,

That was all they had to say,

Within the next five minutes,

Our entire neighborhood stood demolished,

It all happened in front of our eyes,

The kids stood watching,

Those monstrous machines of destruction,

Engulfing their toys, their books, their memories, their childhood,

That night I saw all them unanimously cry,

But, I made sure all of them were safe,

Told them we were fortunate to have escaped unscratched, unhurt,

For, like that little kid with my neighbors,

Got crushed beneath a tumbling wall,

For, like him, many couldn’t turn as lucky…

The stadium dressing room,

Stands segmented with a cloth,

A place to cook, and the other to sit during the day,

The public urinal to wash and bathe,

This is how I’m spending my days,

Awaiting help from Palestinian Authorities,

Eating up our savings bit by bit,

My family now hangs by weary knots of hope…

I often sit by the wall,

And think out ways,

Ideas to fetch a few smiles,

Cheap sweets made on my pan for the kids,

Tits and bits of happiness,

Even in this grim existence of ours,

That’s how we are surviving,

Dwelling in each other,

Trying hard to see my lil’ ones laugh,

Trying hard to accept life…

They say they would soon leave,

Let Palestinians in here live,

Profusely, breathe in, breathe out,

The leftover breath, heal their wounds, die natural deaths,

But, they have been saying the same, since years now,

We no more nurture such hopes,

We are too scared to dream…

Each and every night,

Clinging on to my husband tight,

Resting by the walls of the dressing room,

I feel indebted to the Almighty,

For keeping us alive, for keeping us safe,

For not wiping us away with His death-broom,

We together pray, seek redemption,

For giving birth to our children,

In this century’s hell,

Rafah, a ravaged town cornering the perilous belt of Gaza…