I was married as a child without father or mother, without happiness
Others marry in a grand way with much joy

Others are delighted to have a child
But I lost my child because I was a child myself

Some find happiness in a new life
I lost mine in my new life

Some shop for new clothes to buy their children
I shop for soap to wash the old clothes

Some don’t know which food to eat 
I worry I will have nothing to feed my children

Some are excited for Eid to wear new clothes
I clean dried raisins to sell for 50 Afghani to feed five children

I tell my daughter “your mom is alive, but you don’t have a dad”
I prefer to beg than force my daughter to marry young

My story will not repeat with her
My daughter will not marry as a child

I can’t give my children what they want
I see in their eyes a bleak future with no education

My hands shake when I can’t buy them notebooks
My heart hurts when I can’t pay for their smallest wish

People take their children to the hospital for care 
Mine must tolerate the sickness until they get better—or die

Others wait for their father to bring them fruits at night
My children search for their sick father to bring him home

Oh God! People dream of having children
Please forgive me that I cannot feed mine!

But I believe life will not always be filled with pain
One day my dream will come true

I will see my children in school
Wearing clean clothes that I wash with a grateful smile

Today my smile is painful but at least I have it
Tomorrow I will smile with true happiness

By Shogofa Az.

Photo by Evgeni Zotov.