He hammers plastic sheets onto windowless frames.
She sweeps brick dust outside where bulldozers groan
through rubble and it circles back, she’s powder-faced,
swollen- mouthed, coughs stringy phlegm into a towel.
He smooths her hair, promises life will improve if they
pray, work hard, this is their home, their jewelled city.
Their cold, leaking flat shovelled clear of broken glass.
He walks her to the Citadel, fingers a crumbled wall
and weeps. He’s a good man, doesn’t rage about losing
their son last year when a qunbula dropped too close
and the child came too soon, slipped from her like a red
wax doll. She buries grief; humps water from street tanks,
scours markets for food while hollering lads chase empty
oil drums, wear striped woollen hats lettered CANADA.