If You Could Speak…

Gaza Palestine Child Children

Little face in the rubble!
If you could speak
From your midget-coffin,
If your sweet voice could carry through
Your little mouth-
Cavernous and hollowed out by death,
Encrusted with old blood,
Stopped in its tracks between pearly new teeth
That once shone when your face blossomed into smiles;
Or enlivened with laughter
Over some little silliness, some little surprise-

Those little things, before scary big things took over-
Big feuds between little people
Unable to see the faces in the rubble-
Blinded, insensate…

If you could speak
From beneath the settling dust of oblivion
Falling, falling quietly over hearts-

You’d speak of
When the sky flared up with fires-
Malevolent and blind- as they rained Death,
Leaving the trail of bloodied corpses
And shell-shocked mourners.
And often, battered little bodies-
Timorous and traumatized-
Confounded by unanswered questions.

You’d speak of
The desperate, endless waiting
For a healing hand-
Perhaps your mother’s keffiyeh to cling on to;
Her warm breath to reassure
“It’ll be all right”…
But the breath was cold,
The hand lifeless and brittle.

You’d speak of
The stinging, deep pain
Of a disconsolate helplessness,
And the terrifying abyss of cruel questions
Hulking all around you,
Pressing upon your battered self,
Confounding your infantile senses.

You’d speak of
How Death took so long to reach
As you writhed in your own blood…

Yet when She reached, Her touch strangely familiar
In its maternal, Messianic embrace,
As it spread its gentle wing
Soaring above and beyond
Where pain cannot reach-
Onward and upward,
To ‘The Home of Peace’
That you were promised…

If you could speak-
Your voice would resound…
“If only my people knew…” (The Noble Quran, 36:26)

If you could speak-
The Verdict would ring loud-
An eternal, scathing indictment
Writ large into the very heart
Of the eternal universe…
“Yaa hasrat an al all ibaad” (Alas for mankind!) (The Noble Quran, 36:30)

If you could speak-
The layered silences
Over the tiny mound of earth
That shrouds you
Would be ripped through
By the still, small voice…

Piercing, shattering, tearing, shuddering…
To ask of us
An overwhelming question-
‘For what crime was I slain? (The Noble Quran, 81:9)

Maryam Sakeenah is a Pakistan-based independent researcher and freelance writer on International politics, human rights and Islam. She divides her time between teaching high school, writing, research and voluntary social work. She also authored a book ‘Us versus Them and Beyond’ analyzing the Clash of Civilization theory and the role of Islam in facilitating intercultural communication

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