Topography of my soul


When I was seven,
 
At gunpoint,
 
I was driven out of my homeland, Palestine
 
A Naksa, survivor, daughter of Nakba survivors
 
Eyes moist, gazing at the horizon
 
Fixated towards Jerusalem
 
Ever since
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When I was seventeen,
 
My family departed Libya, moved away, as did I
 
Leaving all my friends behind
 
“I will not go through this again” I thought
 
“No more friends, no more love, no more gain
 
No more loss, no more separation, no more pain”
 
I said to myself
999
At twenty seven,
 
A stranger in a strange land, London, UK
 
The chest of my beloved was ripped open
 
Valve replacement in his weary heart
 
Standing by his side in ICU
 
“Wouldn’t I wish it was me under the surgeon’s knife”
 
“I would cope better, if I took your place”
 
Anguish unbearable, legs… jelly, I fell to the floor
broken_heart_by_starry_eyedkid-1_e1906ae0
At thirty seven,
 
Gasping for life, in a hospital bed
 
Embroidering hope with a phantom thread
 
Wavering in and out of existence
 
Four years in the abyss
 
Watching in despair
 
My children growing
 
Playing alone, dressing alone, reading alone,
 
Going to bed without mama’s song or bedtime story
 
A breathing shadow
 
I linger at the brim of sanity
 
In daunting anticipation
 
Dreading the relentless daily questions of my toddler
 
“Are you feeling better, mama? Can you give me a bath now?
Can you tell me a story yet? Can we play outside today?”
 
 “Does that grey colour in your hair mean you’re going to die soon, mama?”

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At forty seven,
 
Grieving the sudden loss of my soulmate,
 
Burying my beloved in a faraway graveyard
 
Frozen, I curl inwards,
Staring at his face fractalising, covering every spot I lay my eyes upon
 
Frantically I run to me
 
Flicking through my memories
 
Searching every corner of my lost mind
 
Exhuming my heart, tearing it apart
 
Chiseling the kernel of my soul with my bare hands
 
Maybe, just maybe, I could find Khaled’s grin again
 
Meet his shadow, kiss his forehead
 
Catch a whiff of his scent around
 
Or hear one of his heartbeats just one more time
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At fifty seven,
 
oops, not there yet !
 
* * *
 
NO… NO
 
Don’t get me wrong
 
I am not complaining, not at all
 
I’m merely describing the lowest points in time and space
 
On the map of my journey, in the canyons of my soul
 
* * *
 
The rest is magic
 
Swaying hills, and gushing waterfalls
 
Great big mountains with high altitudes
 
Buoyant meadows, and dancing rainbows,
 
Flowing rivers, pounding oceans, hymns of gratitude
 
Thank you Allah, Shukran ya wadoud
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