Toilet Trip

On International Women's Day, FRANK Water's Poet in Residence, Martin Kiszko, highlights what life can be like for women in India who live without a safe drinking water and sanitation.   

Sometimes in the house

All I’ve got

To use as a toilet

Is a tin or a pot.

So out I must go

And knock at a door

Where I’m sent back

Like the times before.

Even the village bar has said

‘You can’t go here. Go back to bed’

So I step out again into the night

All the time burning and churning inside


There’s always a chance

I could be attacked,

I glance over shoulders,

Watch by back.

Who knows if I’ll find

Somewhere that’s safe,

Where I won’t be taunted

With jeers of disgrace,

I feel I’ll burst if I don’t find a place.


With each nervous step

The search goes on…

There’s no knowing what lurks

In the bush or trees

Wherever I stop

There could be disease.

What else can I do

But risk life and limb

As I continue this trek,

Haunted by words

That my mind unfurls:

There are billions of hours

Lost by women and girls...

On these dangerous trips

With the painful wait

To find a place

To urinate or defecate.


c.2016 Martin Kiszko