Like Never Before

Tank shells struck a hospital outside
Wounding sixty and killing four
Inside her small house the mother waited, petrified.
Terrified of what was in store.

Rescue workers pulled bodies out of the wreckage
Of an air strike
Adding some more
Numbers
Some tragic numbers
To the collateral damage
Of senseless gore.

Inside, the terrified mother waited
Herself she berated
For having earlier been stern to her brat pack.
“Do not go out to play”, she had screamed at them,
The rising tide of panic trying to stem.

Ah they have come, there was some noise at the door
And some weird nondescript roar.
Towards the door she raced
Yes, she knew they were waiting to be embraced.
They always came yelling and screaming to her
“Mom, we are back”, as though a victory they had scored.
But now it was she who screamed like never before.
Screamed harder
Louder
Than ever before.
Screamed for them
Screamed for what was left of them.

In a stupor anguished, she gathered the tiny thing to her breast
There were lacerations and bruises on his little chest
Yes, it was a thing, a weird thing
A thing which just an hour back was the king
Of her household.
Now the thing had been reduced to nothing
His locks were golden, who had painted them red instead?

On the floor the five year old lay, lifeless and cold
On his side lay his eight year old sister
The dazed mother bent down and kissed her.
“Do you have any clue
Why her frock which was blue
Now has a new hue
And where is my son’s shoe?
Have any clue?”
In a trance she mumbled
Looking wildly all around, in his golden locks with shaking fingers she fumbled.

Then she cried like never before
Cried harder
Louder
Than ever before.
Cried for them
Cried for what was left of them
Like never before.
Clutched the football
And the doll
To her breast and cried like never before.
Unheard went her screams and cries
Like never before.

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