A Faceless Girl


when I see her lying partially naked,

half asleep or unconscious,

on a busy street of Block A’s market.

I die a little inside.


I halt,

give a closer look,

and my heart cringes

at the sight of her seemingly burnt stomach,

the permanently etched pain on her face.


I linger,

and scan myself for courage

to offer her aid.

But then I cower, walk past and pretend

that the last 30 seconds never occurred.


A whirlwind

takes over my mind,

and all I can notice is

naive kids picking rags,

not knowing what would become of them.


No reprieve

seems to meet

the wailing mother,

hiding her tears and

feeding her hungry child.



seems to allude

the vulnerable little ones

running in half pants,

and may be enduring what they ought not.


No more

I can bear

the rhetoric of my mind,

and rush back to find

the faceless girl in Block A.



No trace no sign.

Just the empty space

with her ghost in my mind

sitting in the very same corner.


I wonder

how she went,

where she had gone.

Thought of what might befall her,

pierces my heart through and through.



For I just witnessed

my substandard reflexes bringing no aid,

and me wading each and every day, deluded,

through the mess of my own neglect.



I prod myself.

Find my pretty logics cloaking conveniences,

too afraid to stand alone and up straight,

carrying the backbone of a coward.



to act upon it

one step at a time,

not frightening my fragile courage,

remembering that faceless face every time.



that god forbid I come across

the same ghost in my life again,

I will have the courage to stop

and bring her back to life.


This poem is about how we come across so many homeless people on the streets but just cant find the courage to lend a helping hand. I am doing a 30 Days series of Poems on ‘Humanity’… This is my poem for Day 10 (Will soon edit and post the poems for rest of the days.)

Also, in Response to Kim’s (Poets United) prompt of writing succinctly and boldly about a personal experience . Sorry for not keeping it under 100 words, but just had to write it all down to get it on the common grounds for all the readers.. I hope it makes us all find our courage for those in need.

With Love

Shivani Ahuja


21 thoughts on “A Faceless Girl

  1. Lisa A.Williams

    So tragic to see someone in such a desperate situation, you captured the feeling of the onlooker with great compassion and the helplessness we feel, not knowing what we can do to help.

  2. Scott Matthews

    Aid is not always something willingly received by those we perceive to be in need. That does not mean we should stop trying, only that we recognize our own limitations. Great poem with much feeling and self-searching.

  3. bonniejtoomey2013

    I really like these lines:

    /But then I cower, walk past and pretend

    that the last 30 seconds never occurred. /

    Great action and emotion and something which really speaks to the questions of the human condition we all share.

  4. K

    A very powerful poem for sure. I love the message. I am anxious to read your other humanity poems. Sounds like a fulfilling challenge to be a part of.

  5. laughwithme45

    This is such a sad topic. My heart breaks for the homeless who have so much suffering in their lives. You’ve captured this feeling of the courage that we all hope we will have when the time comes.

  6. Sherry Marr

    Fantastically well written poem about the human dilemma of passing by the suffering, not knowing what we can do – there are so many, everywhere, every day. Because of your poem, we will remember this soul and maybe pluck up our courage, too, when it happens next.

  7. Anand

    Impressed by your writing style. It captures all emotions there is in offer. Great job. Keep writing. God bless.

  8. Suzy

    But then I cower, walk past and pretend that the last 30 seconds never occurred – isn’t that ever so true – we get so engrossed in our own lives that we haven’t got time for others. Something to ponder over. Nicely written.

  9. Sherri B.

    Your honesty is refreshing and this poem is so heartwrenching, yet beautiful. I have been in this situation myself and have felt that same moment of intense shame. Thank you for sharing!


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