Children of Hotel Venecia in Kyiv!

by Nilofar Shidmher

Fifty-thousand-dollar babies
born out of rented wombs
of women who after
receiving their money have
happily gone home.

Their affluent foreign mothers are still
in their own countries, quarantined
in their homes with
their spouses, waiting
for the end of the pandemic.

The children are in the care of nurses
who are yearning to be with
their own children and sleep
beside their spouses,
not alone in this five-star boutique hotel.

Every night, the nurses kneel
by their beds, leaning on the cold
sheets, facing the wall,
and cross themselves, praying to God
to rid them from COVID 19 and these

nobody’s children!

Nilofar Shidmher, PhD, MFA, is a bilingual writer, poet, creative writing-informed research scholar, and educator. She is the author of two collections of short fiction and five books of poetry in English and Persian. Her first poetry book in English, Shirin and Salt Man, was nominated for a British Columbia Book-Prize. Her latest fiction book, Divided Loyalties, has received many positive reviews. She has served three times as a Writer-in-Residence in different cities across Canada, the last of which was with McMaster University and Hamilton Public Library. Dr. Shidmher teaches in the Continuing Education Program at Simon Fraser University. Surekha spent her formative years in the beautiful hills of Nilgiris before she moved to her hometown, Thalassery, to pursue a career in fine art. Her works have been in many exhibitions across India, and most recently to “Revived Emotions,” an international exhibition at Ratchademnoen Contemporary Art Centre, Bangkok. She served as the head designer for a leading Kerala based jewelery chain for 17 years, leaving behind an oeuvre of more than 3000 designs. Painting has always been her first love, exploring the moods of nature, and finding shades, colours, tones and textures in landscapes, especially focusing on her memories of Thalassery and Nilgiris.  

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