Letters, Poetry

Yateem

Yateem(Arabic) : Orphan(English)

‘Umi,
It’s been fifteen days
you went out looking for Abbu,
I count nights with your needle
on my fingertips,
my blood oozes out in red.

‘Umi,
I am still staring into your eyes,
trying to read the words
in your silent war.
I woke up in the middle of my sleep.
It’s been quite some days
I saw the hazel brown shine.

‘Umi,
there is no more rice left in the hearth,
the bread cuts through my mouth,
the sink had its last drop today.
I couldn’t wash my hands after my meal.

‘Umi,
I pierced my fingertip
for the twenty-fifth time today;
I walked out of our wooden door
towards the direction
I remember your shadow fading in.
The sun is shining too bright.

‘Umi,
I am lying in a pool of blood
of faces and parts
I have never seen before.
My face has drowned from the left,
I think I felt your hands on my head.
I think I am falling asleep.

‘Umi,
Allah has answered
all of my sala
of five times
for twenty-five days.
He lets me dream of you,
in the daytime too.
The darkness of the night
has pierced through my left eye.

‘Umi,
I was taken to a camp today,
bodies laid in green cloth.
The stench in the air reminded me
of Abbu’s kaftan slipping off your hands,
before your feet left our home.
I am looking inside of me for strength.

‘Umi,
I am sitting beside you,
holding your little finger.
I can feel a warm rush pouring down
from the right half of my face,
like bombs and bullets on our land.
You are cold, like the snow from last winter.

‘Umi,
I am standing in front of a grey wall.
I look afar at a man coming towards me
with a Carbine, I think-
Abbu showed me this, one time
when we were headed to the market-
he holds my face and says something,
I am deafened by your silence.

‘Umi,
he took my hair in his fingers
and brushed them to the side.
Another placed his thumb
on the left end on my lips
and pushed it against my cheek-
A flash went off on my face.
My left eye hurts,
I cannot unsee the sight
or your flight.

‘Umi,
they asked for my name,
and I slowly whispered,
one letter at a time,
like the times in school,
A-S-E-E-L.
They note it down
with some digits and signs,
and my name
heads a list in red,
Yateem(s).

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