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  • Syakir Moharum

The Breadwinner

"Oh, he’s at the doorstep! Shhhh”,

whispers the last of the three.

The lights out, the television dead,

not a sound bounces off the greasy, flaky walls

of what has always been home, study, and play.

In between the shaky foldable rose-patterned table

and the red plastic multi-use chair,

the ma’am of the house flicks the cigarette lighter

and brings it close to the candle – the only she could find

in the depths of the organised mess in that corner of the kitchen.

The keys ringing – the delightful sound

of his momentous return from a long, long day.

With his calloused fingers he swiftly opens one-by-one

the locks that ever provides the littlest protection

against spray painters and what he always calls ‘bad men’.

Behind the scenes, the little ones clutch their mouths

as they bide their time for the man of the hour.

At once, the man steps into his 5-year-old mansion –

the pride of none but a select few

the abode of his moon and stars

the world of opportunities

the land of the free

the paradise.

Nay, but anyone could say:


The song is sung.

The candle is blown.

The hands are clapped.

The hugs are hugged.

On the delicate fingers of the lady

was a slice –

a slice of paradise.


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