Image: Public domain, via CNN

That God asked us to make ourselves an ark of cypress
And interiorize it with grand rooms
This god had an aging fishing vessel ready of glass fibrous
To overcrowd it with creatures and cues

That God commanded to ride in pairs
Two of everything that has the breath of life
This god left ashore, partners and heirs
Of passengers, with a bottomless well of lies

That God ensured that every victual is taken
While the favored ones were being delivered
This god arranged for eight hundred souls, salvation
As they become krill, crustaceans for whales esurient

That God Established a Covenant with Noah
To deliver them to a safe green haven
This god ate Solomon’s riches like protozoa
To traffic desperate souls against commission

For forty days and forty nights when the floodgates
Wrecked the earth, God’s blessed gently floated
Unlike those whose deaths danced predate
In the deadliest maritime Mediterranean that revolted

I ask where did that God go?
When did this god overtake?
Why did He let us go?
When did that Covenant break?

We did not have a Noah, his cypress ark
To deliver us from floods, hunger, penury
At home; So, we turned to this god that lurks
In fossil fuels, in grey glaciers, in the starving belly

Have you ever walked away from
A beloved, to save from your flu, fever, fungi
Have you passed to him curry warm
Hiding hunger with a smile resembling millionaire pie

The primogenial body dominating the soul when
A red-bellied black snake hunts
A mother runs to her distressed child, angst-ridden
Trading your life like sagacious merchants

Did that God intervene in the last fourteen hours
When hotlines failed, authorities froze
Did He gift death as a relief, as a power
When Ionian Sea waters above the smuggled arose?

Can that dove fly after the waves recede
And bring back in beak, freshly plucked olive leaf
On that written an answer in seaweed
If the sea-dwellers found that God in disbelief?

About the Poem

This poem is an elegy based on the Messenia Boat Tragedy that happened on June 14, 2023. The overcrowded fishing trawler capsized off the Greek coast, and carried around 800 smuggled migrants, out of which 300 were reported to be Pakistani nationals. As a Pakistani, I have given much thought to this incident; the urgency to charge human traffickers and the factors that lead to such desperation.

About the Author

MAHEK KHWAJA is a poet, preacher, and performing artist based in Karachi, Pakistan. She works in Higher Education publishing for a living. She is especially interested in addressing social issues through Literary Criticism and Didactic Art. She has published her literary works on platforms like Breathebold Magazine, The Winter Door, Cerebration: A Literary Journal, Hektoen International, Mehwar, The Rapport, Mixed Mag, Radical Zine, Pakistani Facts, and Zau Literary Magazine alongside contributing to an award-winning anthology.

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