War by Shaima Saleh

Posted on May 20, 2013 by


I know it’s restless; the way every breath comes and goes. How it all depends on whether your heart is willing to obey, or give away. But that’s all I know, and maybe I don’t know it all that well.


My dear, I am out of place here; out of place to talk to you, to speak of you, to even claim my insignificant tie to you, but it’s around my neck, choking the words out of me. It is not a matter of deprecating myself, – as most of these things go –  it is rather a matter of evangelising you and seeing you ridiculously play all of it down with your sly smile.


It is quite silly of me to dare and compare –even call- my minimal war, existential or otherwise, a war then be so blatant about it and compare it to yours. But, you see, I am my own standard, and to make you see, I have to clear my eyes of whatever debris I got into them.


My dear, if I pretend to know how much of a task it is to breathe, it is only because I spear my chest with every terror I’ve thrown in the trenches of my subconscious when I thought no one was watching. How are your bullets disrupting your breath? Is it too difficult to call out my name? Did you give them names yet? I wouldn’t have thought so. You’re only silly to please your mother. What about her? Does she still remember how easily you smiled? How hardly you laughed?


My dear, if I compare my war to yours, it is only to show you your holiness. Every word I dare and express is a spoonful of my flesh. Every silent and resilient fibre of resistance, they scooped out of you in flesh. Every wrong I’ve done anyone is a burden on my heart. Every right you’ve done anyone was returned to you in splinters and gunpowder along your stream. Every battle I’ve fought, I’ve lost. The only one you’ve fought, you barely scraped through.


I still remember your voice waking me up to pray in the dawn, and how I marvelled at the beauty of your voice in recital. Those nights in the village and the smell of your mother’s headscarf as you tugged it away from my hands and ran away. Do you think you can run away from me again, or do your two bullets hold you down now?

Posted in: War