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Friday, February 09, 2018


by Melissa Bentley

A poster in Kasur, Pakistan, includes a picture of Zainab and the message: "Protest. Protest. Protest. Daughter Zainab, we are ashamed. But if not now, then never. Zainab, in light of your martyrdom, we will seek accountability for all similar events in the past. We will not rest without that." Photo by Diaa Hadid/NPR, February 1, 2018

From the comfort of my heated driver’s seat,

I listened to a Pakistani Mother pray
for God to hear her plea
   for the safety of


whom the reporter had just told me
was found on a trash heap near her home -
raped, murdered, thrown away,
before the age of 6.
That child will not sit up on that heap of shit,
slide down, and take the short walk home today.
She will not show up at her Mother's door
now, tomorrow, or

I’m watching the sun rise
on my drive,
in pink and mellow skies,
listening to a Mother’s cries.

You tell me,
does God hear a
Mother’s prayer?

Melissa Bentley lives in North Carolina. She enjoys a variety of creative activities in addition to her day job.