I walk upon what ceases to remain,
Where neither wall nor beam was spared.
I walk on broken glass of windowpanes
On a night when no one else seems to care.
I cannot tell a soul to protect my name,
This house holds with it a burden of shame.
I recount many a dream of this day,
This rubble, this pungent smell in the air
Of rage, agony, and sullen clouds of grey.
I witness the aftermath of my nightmare.
As I walk through the remnants and traces,
Something ‘neath the ruin catches my eye,
So I dust off the surface of familiar faces,
Of whom I do not care to tell good bye.
For years have I dreamt that you’d be gone,
Since you first wreaked havoc in this abode,
Such an adieu you have only prolonged,
Destroying this mediocre excuse for a home.
At this thought, I cringe; I fall to my knees,
Onto a ground of wooden shards and nails
That swiftly scrape my skin; I bleed, I bleed,
I bleed out the evil that has since prevailed.
I watched as the devil led my brother astray,
As he deluded himself, sin after sin,
I hadn’t an ounce of pity when he went his way,
As I bled the blood that bound me to him.
I bury my face in my hands as reality sets in,
Foolish man, how dare you let the devil win?
Screams still echo off nonexistent walls,
I cover my ears as they shout their lies.
From a broken phone, my father calls.
Behind a slammed door, my mother cries.
“When will peace befall? When will grief subside?”
I whisper to the old picture in my hands:
A picture of smiling toddlers, side by side,
Of which one grew to be a wicked, wicked man.
Shaking, I grasp a matchbox within my reach;
I strike a match to burn away the memories,
To burn broken promises and false speech,
To burn this ever-looming melancholy.
Then I press my forehead against the ground,
I pray for a new home, for a family sound.
* * *
This piece is about a broken family symbolized by a broken house. It’s written in three sonnets to illustrate the narrator’s train of thought. The first sonnet is a description of what the narrator sees, which leaves her in shock as she connects with the dreams she’s had. Accordingly, towards the end of the first sonnet when she dusts off the surface of “familiar faces”, there is a play on the words ‘familiar’ and ‘family’. The second sonnet is about her trying to come to terms with the bittersweet reality. It’s sweet because her brother is gone, but bitter because he destroyed the house before he left. The third sonnet is about burning the past and trying to move on with her life, asking Allah “for a new home, for a family sound.”
The inspiration for this piece came from actual dreams, personal experiences, and emotions that I kept locked away for far too long. This is for everyone who had to lay awake at night, trying to fall asleep amidst yelling and screaming. This is for everyone who has no shoulder to cry on, no one to tell, only Allah. This is for everyone who wishes for a peaceful family over everything, but for one reason or another cannot have one. Turn to Allah and be patient.
“…Give good tidings to the patient, who, when disaster strikes them, say, ‘Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return’” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 155-156).
Remember the stories of the prophets (‘alayhim as-salam) – stories of men who went through tests of family. In those moments, they had no one to turn to but Allah. Allah was sufficient for them. He too is sufficient for you.