The Mud House by Ziaul Moid Khan

The Mud House

A backroom of our old mud house collapsed
last night—no earthquake, no storm, no bomb—
well worn, it crumpled. This morning we fell
silent; we knew we’d not be able to rebuild it.

We stood in the debris, discussed the hopeless
prospects as relatives and neighbors expressed
sympathies. Some said it was good that no one
was injured, others worried about us too poor
to rebuild. We simply stared with listless eyes
while mother slumped into a broken corner
to quiet her baby daughter, our only sister.

A villager rolled up in his bullock cart with hope
of taking away the mud; we listened in awe—
he needed soil for leveling up his courtyard.

Ziaul Moid Khan is a contemporary speculative fiction author and a romantic poet born and raised in the North India countryside, Johri. He considers himself a world citizen. Mostly self-taught in English, his work has been featured in Artifact Nouveau, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Literary Orphans, Society of Misfit Stories, The Fifth Di…, Universe of Attractions, and other venues. He resides in Rajasthan with his beautiful wife, Khushboo, and his five-years-young cute son, Brahmaand Cosmos. He does not drink, nor does he smoke, but his characters do all sorts of things including, but not limited to, intoxication. Email him at

Editor’s Notes: In an article by Kshitiz Gaur, a Rajasthan village is shown as having no concrete houses, only mud houses, and the concerns of the residents [].

Image Credit: This is a cropped video clip of actual footage when a mud house in western India suddenly collapses in heavy monsoon rains [August 20, 2021,]