1. Sultan, Areeba MBBS

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Hanging below his nameplate


Is a list of foods


His favorite ones


Demanding kid, that one


Takes a jibe our boring followups


Counts the number of his ITs


Suggests to improve on our memory


Instead of repeating daily


Such gall and spirit


Comparable to none


She begs for respite


Give me a few minutes


and I will be ready


For this damned sedation


I will, I will, just wait a bit


And so passes an hour


But she isn't ready


Breathes hard


Sobs and screams


But she isn't ready yet


We can't give her more time


He reads wimpy kid!


And stays for hours at it


Oh come on kid!


Anything but that?


Can't swallow, can't sleep


But smiles like a good lad


He is a serious one!


Convinces us to vote


And that too for imran khan


Wonder if he considers


Voting, in years to come


Fingers crossed


The way he holds her


All parents love their kids


But the way he holds her.


She likes to be called


By a boyish nickname


Gets delighted by the sound of it


Little girl in pain


But a smile on her face


A father that loves her


To the depth of his bones


I hope to see you again


But not like this


He asked us today


If he'd be able to fast


During the month of Ramadan


He's chemo naive


And cannot anticipate


With a dimple on his left cheek


(Which he claims is actually an insect bite)


And creases at the edges of his eyes


He smiles and tells me


All I do is draw blood out of him!


I need to stop, he tells me


I left her at the PICU


And promised to come back


for her a day later


Saved no bed


And dared not revisit


Days passed


And so did she


As silently


As wind over the sea


He said he will only buy


A one way ticket


Cause he doesn't think


Or wish


To return


From his last travel


The holy pilgrimage


Yet he lies here on this bed


Completely aware


Checking on his morphine


Keeping a watch on time


Says he's tired


But I can see him fighting


She was the only one


That noticed I got a new bag


Winked at me


Whilst I was debating


How soon would PICU team drop by


To see her


Pointed and raised her eyebrows


And I responded with a laugh


That surprised my colleagues


How could I laugh in such a difficult situation


Certainly their spirit of resilience


Is higher than all of ours combined


AREEBA SULTAN, MBBS, is a Resident in Pediatrics & Child health at Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi, Pakistan.

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