• Asia Khatun

My Beloved Will Wait

'What else is left for us? My homeland and future are gone and Leyla got married.'

I had awaken dreaming of how the brown curls of her hair would dance past my gaze, How the corners of her deep eyes somehow shifted to meet mine every so often, And I could not help but paint the pale in her skin with the pomegranate stains of my father’s farm. She felt like warm asal and hot qahwa on a cold morning, And after the stillness of fajr, I floated along with the breeze until it delivered me to her. I had found home in the softness of her lips, watching them part as she read the sweet words of Darwish and Abu Hayyan. Another fajr came and I waited to be carried to her. Instead, a broken accent pushed himself through my door and said “ta’al ma’ana.” Baba was gone with the shuhada of Nablus. So, I left Mama staring at the barrel of a gun As they dragged me from the clutches of the very soil that had given me life. For the next four hundred and thirty one days, I woke only dreaming of her in my arms As I lay inside a concrete box, purple and naked With whispers of martyrdom

Interrupted by the kicks of blonde foreigners Who had traded in their humanity for a piece of my home.

Then one dawn, after my screams had fallen dry and quiet, I found myself on the road following the memory of her. I returned to the soil that resembled the man I had left behind. He did not greet me well. Rather, he had buried every inch of what I once knew in dirt and rubble, and the neighbours told me Mama’s jenazah had passed with the wet leaves of Autumn. I asked of Leyla, they told me she had married and left Nablus.

By Asia Khatun