What it means to become a stranger
in a home you laid the bricks for,
the walls of a home you painted
magnolia, violet and magnolia again.
Like the faded stain of crushed pomegranate
on the sheet that became your passport.
When these colours and sounds
you once only dreamt on soiled sheets
spring up on you lucid,
what once was ideal becomes putrid.
We tolerate and tolerate and tolerate,
our tongues cease to move
and our tear ducts seal themselves.
Thousands of stories at the tips of our tongues.
A lifetime of small injustices,
and big ones too.
The small ones cut like razors
on our upper thighs
and the big ones we become impregnated with.
We carry their weight
and are burdened with their existence
living our lives in subsistence.
You pour your purpose into paint buckets
and delicately greet the corners of this home.
You ask him over and over if it is a shade he enjoys
and he tells you again;
his favourite colour is the red that you bleed.
Your value comes not from the pigment of these walls,
but from how loudly you can sing his praises,
when these cuts and grazes
blossom into split temples
and painful hazes
the same places we go to worship
become our theatres.
When we fear more than God,
we fear only the man He created.
By Halima Anwar