It was during a cruel time
that people thought it was proper
to cross borders.
Nothing goes well
when the time is ill.
A stroke of good luck it was
that the heart of a boat seemingly so small
turned out to be vast enough
that every inch of it could be occupied
by men and women,
youth and babies half conscious,
all hoping for a favorable wind.
The fate of man depended now
on the waves.
They could submerge him in deep waters
or guide him safely across to the other side.

May the nights of a new moon
provide the cover of darkness each evening.
May the thick carpet of snow
cover the earth always.
Such nights alone
make it possible
for the crawling people
to cross the barbed border fence.
The government uniforms
are hanging on the peg in those moments,
and people, lurking in the quilt,
are warming their flesh.

Into the new land, new country,
the refugees
penetrated with a hope for life.
There was no milk
in the mothers’ dried breasts.
“Babies could tolerate
starvation, that is okay.
But breasts shouldn’t have deflated
like this.”
The eyes of the people,
eagerly helping to cross the border,
were looking for a valid reason.

Born (1952) and raised in tribal reserve of Jhabua, India, Dharm is a Toronto based Author. He writes in Hindi and has seven published books- five collections of satirical essays and two collections of Poetry. He is a columnist for four prestigious journals Chankya Varta, Vishwa gatha, Setu & VishwAa. His works have appeared in prestigious Hindi journals across the world. His poetry in English has been previously published in Poetry Pause, Fresh Voices, Harbinger Asylum, Akshara, Impspired, Piker Press, Scarlet Leaf Review, Dissident Voice, and Setu. He can be reached at and on Facebook: Read other articles by Dharmpal Mahendra, or visit Dharmpal Mahendra's website.