Ash by Rania Ghazal

Posted on March 8, 2014 by


An apology letter to myself.


I am sorry that I warmed myself with a fire that was not burning for me. But the cold was feeding on my limbs and my edges were turning rough. The lake on the dip of my back was turning into ice.


I am sorry I looked at him with colors that did not exist, when I knew he saw me in black.


I am sorry I turned myself into nothing for something. Tip-toed around his attention like a thief at a jewelry store, when he would tell me diamonds are not for everyone.


I am sorry I craved to hear him say my name when I knew it tasted bitter on his tongue, felt like a lump in his throat.


I am sorry I asked him to stay when I saw his right foot between the door and watched him pull me like a loose strand on a sweater until I was stripped naked. I stepped out of myself willingly, because I missed his hands.



I am sorry that I always wonder why my mother does not treat me the way other moms treat their children. She does not let me press my face into the crook of her arm. She has mirrors instead of irises and I cannot look at my reflection without cringing. I am a foreigner to the woman who held me in her womb. Every I ‘love you’ she never responds to resonates inside me like explosions. I grew up not knowing which path to people I should cross and which I should burn. I ended up setting myself on fire. I still find her words in the pockets of my childhood, pressed between the moments I thought I would rather have her hit me than tell me I was a burden. She should have hit me.


I am sorry that I hate the traces on my face. When I was nine, my grandmother told me I inherited the orchids planted on the tips of my mother’s hair and the eyes that were painted honey gold, holding clusters of shimmering stars on their lap. I hate them because they are my mother’s, not mine.


I am sorry I have to love her silently. I do not know the proper way to hand love over without pouring it all over the place. I curve around people I care about like an oak tree and my spine is starting to ache. I do not know how much to give or take.


I am sorry the only thing I love about myself is the length of my hair. The feeling comes in waves, sometimes tsunamis. The feeling comes in echoes, sometimes thunderclaps. It plants roots in my bronchi and grows around my lungs like mid-July moss in the Amazon. It forms on my tongue like clotted milk. It is like when you lose your keys or your lipstick. You look for them but eventually give up. Buy a replacement. You heal the old wounds with new stitches.  I feel like I’ve once had something and lost it.


I am sorry I tried filling the void with anything I could get my hands on. I am in mourning for all the friendships that are like mixing water and oil.  Like drinking out of the Sahara dessert’s palms during the rain. I am a leaking faucet, and the love in me has run dry.


I am sorry that I have been starved of love, like the pulmonary artery that found more ash than oxygen. Ash of everything that could have been. But, when I turned eighteen, I found a spark that lit a fire and I watched it burn my apology letter into ash. I have nothing to be sorry about anymore.

Posted in: Ash