I painted him as a subject in the art class
a man holding bubbling colors
cheerful children all around;
I see him today on the streets
only to know how I failed imagining the reality
four strings tied to his fingers
struggling to escape its fate,
seams of shirt torn, shoes never worn
none around but a child of his own
hungry and lame, stretching his arm
to survive one more day and
“Life isn’t easy”, the onlookers say.
How beautiful the world would have been
if only the balloon man in my paintings was not a dream.
© Nazneen Kachwala