Rizwan Saleem is a Banker based in Dubai UAE. The thoughts and expressions detailed in his works are of his various escapades suffered through life, and of the profound surprise of having survived long enough to pen them into words. His poems have appeared in anthologies Twenty Seven Signs by Lady Chaos Press and Self Portrait Poetry Collection by Silver Birch Press.
The destruction was complete. It was so stunning that he had to give pause to his brains. It was done with such force that to look upon the detritus of what remained was a task in its own. He tried to get his bearings on where he stood now. A homestead that he had come back and forth for so many years was now unrecognizable. What was this? What had happened here? Why did not even figure into his reason as yet.
He took a few steps forward, though in initial reactions would demand that he run forward to find his loved ones amongst the ruins that now lay scattered before him, but he was numbed by the sheer destruction that he was seeing. His pace quickened now, he went in the direction of the main house or what was left of it. Not one brick lay on another; straw binds and wood beams had broken into splinters crunched under his feet. As if some giant had taken a swipe and wiped all that he ever owed off the face of the earth.
At a distance from the debris he saw his dead children lay. Like broken and discarded rag dolls now no longer needed. He ran to them, he picked up his youngest, his darling girl, who only hours ago had pleaded that he bring back sweet meats for her upon his return. He turned her over and picked her up to hold her to his chest. Her limp lifeless body, now so cold. His eyes blurred with tears and the salt stung in his pupils. Her hair still smelled of fresh flowers and he buried his face in them to find final comfort. The other children lay at further intervals, scattered across this hellish landscape that was just a mere hours ago, so hard to believe, just hours, or was it just hours? The happiest place.
He lay his daughter down with care and ran to his sons, oh my sons, my boys. Broken limb to limb, dead and bruised my pillars. My strength, now lying dead in my arms.
He looked around in sudden alarm, seeking a focal point to this madness. There must be some sign, some spoor or trail that could explain this calamity. He found none. He stood up and stepping around the corpses of his sons ran towards the open fields and yelled out his wife’s name, but in reply all he got was the sound of the wind sweeping through the expanse.
There was nothing here now. Nothing but what remained of him, his life, his possessions; all that he had and was, taken in one fell swoop. His mind was too numb to react to all this and he fell to his knees and choked on sobs that were engulfing him like tsunamis. His hands dug into the fertile soil of his farm and he pulled out a tuft of it and let it crumble down between his fingers, just like everything he had it fell away. Then came a sound from his throat, an unearthly crescendo as if some demonic monster had been unleashed from the depths of Hades.
He cried out to the Azure sky as if to bring the heavens crashing down on the ruins of his family. But the sky remained unmoved, the clouds drifting slowly in their singular purpose, birds still chattering and hopping from branch to branch. Sun still shining in its full zenith, At any other time, perhaps like a few hours ago this would have been a beautifully pleasant day, life all around him was at a norm, only he, the bereaved had been destroyed, his family killed, his farm obliterated, and there he was, desolate, derelict and without an answers.