My Little Hands

I clean the shoes on their feet

That they thrust at my 7-year old face

But I understand, he’s a city man

My little hands dare not make him late.

I wake up to work, I walk to work

I sleep only so that I can work

When I get to work I’m beaten to work,

Even though I never stop,

Harder, faster, better or beating

I eat whatever makes me work.

From welding metal, to cementing houses,

To sitting for hours in a hot windowless room,

Beading away though my legs are so numb,

On the dress of a bride or groom.

Exhaustion and wounds are my state of health,

My lungs heave with unknown disease,

Coaxed away from my burdened parents in the village,

I live in the city, under plastic sheets.

I eat headache balm spread on fungal bread

Yes the taste was first too hard to take

But my friends and I seem to like it now

‘Cause it puts us into a mechanical state.

Entranced we work till the darkness sets,

Like noiseless, numb machines

And yes ofcourse, the chemical breakfast

Is our day’s only meal.

Mud and bricks and metal bars,

Needles and garbage or heavy machines,

From morning to night, they fill my arms,

As boys run past with books and ice creams.

One day we were awarded an hour’s break,

So I leaned back on the factory’s outer wall,

Looking at the buildings, and roads and shimmering dresses,

And thought: I had a hand in them all!

But as I looked at my hands,

Bruised and rough, like a tired old man’s,

I wondered: Is a hand in them all I will have?

What I was to shed as tears for my predicament,

I shed it all as sweat.

But suddenly, I was surprised to find,

A tear slowly creep out of my eyes,

How could it be? I asked myself

But then I realized…

It was from my eyes that I sweat… in my hour of rest.

Donate or choose to educate a child laborer. Its monthly cost is less than one family dinner at a restaurant.

Stop by a child laborer and buy him a small treat today.

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4 thoughts on “My Little Hands

  1. I could weep forever, the sheer magnitude of this unfairness, piercing my heart a thousand times over. Of the fate of these darlings. Of our hardened hearts. And then ask myself what I have done to make life easier for these unfortunate souls?

    For all we care, we’d pass by them, refusing to even give a smile. How hard could it be to ease their pain at least for a moment, showing that there are people who care? To love them? We’d look down upon them, mere dirt at our feet, yet without them, our lives would never have gone as smooth.

    Love these angels, who wouldn’t be where they are, if they had a choice.
    Give them a heart that is filled with affection and mercy.
    Because, maybe all that they need to dry those tears and the sweat, is genuine, selfless love.

    A beautiful and touching piece, Zayn. It left me questioning my existence as flesh and blood, very much in the same World.

  2. Assalamualikum

    Stumbled upon ur blog today and was moved by this composition. It shook me and my kids up, who hardly get a chance to see this reality of life. Jazakillah Khair for the great reminder, for my kids asked – why are they being tested so harshly, and I reminded them – that they are there; so that we may be tested, if we are doing our part. As adults, let’s ask ourselves are we?

    Rifath Farooq

  3. *goosebumps* *tears* How harshly does this reality hits you in the face that you can just hold it in your hands and weep. May Allah allow us to help those in need and bless them with a beautiful life and Afterlife.

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