Legacy | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 01, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:08 AM, February 01, 2020


With a familiar hunger

Lying on a mattress of fatigue

Visions of lying under the same stars

As the ones in his heart flood his slumber

His will gone, his eyelids fluttering,

He collapses, facing the same skies,

Although his lifeless body was floating to a watery grave

Forgotten, except to his widow and those he left fatherless

Their tears fall silently back home,

Away from the skyscrapers that hide a graveyard

Of souls bought without their knowledge

The clinking of glasses drowns the noise outside the window,

From where dollar bills dangle like bait to fish out of water,

Eyes covered to marvel at glistening kaleidoscopes of sunlight

Reflecting off of the stained glass,

Outside, it’s already blinding,

Hands blistered with callouses

Underneath the shining silhouette of pretentious indulgence

Through the warped realities refracted by the diamonds

The caked blood of the rouge lipsticks

Their pillars, burdens of damned backs,

Bones in the cement,

Damned bodies lost in the walls of development

Without memorials

Their freedom, wings of their backs

The ones they die for a thousand times, cut off indefinitely

In gold and iron, their reflections still surface in the sweltering heat

The atmosphere of perfume sickens

With the stench of sweat and sun it was built with

Victims of their own naivete

Pawns of a legacy they march on

In hopes that this time it’ll pay off

Even as it never does.


Ariana Basher is 13 years old, studying in grade 8 in International School Manila. She wrote this poem during a family visit to United Arab Emirates last after seeing the sufferings of Bangladeshi workers there.

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