I would that my life remain a tear and a smile

Standing in a dolmen,
The walls suffocating me,
The fresh air coming through a crack,
From the garden of roses.

Your garden of roses,
Roses as red as your blood,
That was spilled in this very garden,

I do not speak their language,
They do not know me,
I’m not from their caste,
They do not follow my religion,
I saw them as animals,
They didn’t see me as a human,

I danced in the rain,
Hoping to be purified,
Hoping to wash away my sins,
Hoping to drown in the droplets,
Hoping to be swept by the chilly winds,
Hoping to be struck by lightning,
Hoping to die in your rose garden,
Amongst your freshly bathed roses,
Amongst your washed away blood.

You asked me to reconcile,
But how? What language shall I use?
What religion shall I follow?
Where should I kneel to find God?

I shall speak through my eyes,
Through tears saltier than the Dead Sea,
Through the black bruises that resemble a dark night,
Through the blood oozing from gashes like tributaries,
Through the torn clothes that narrate the story of my life.

Isn’t violence the universal language?
No one raises the white flag anymore,
A bloody sword is a storyteller.
A storyteller that tells stories of reconciliation and peace,
Today, the sinking ship has reconciled with the stormy sea,
The lashing waves have reconciled with the sandy beach,
And I’ve reconciled with the Angel of Death,
And now we walk hand in hand,
For I’ve reconciled,
With my past.

(The title was taken from Khalil Gibran’s poem “A Tear and A Smile”)

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Rumana Mehdi

Rumana Mehdi is a Pakistani poet living in the USA. She is the author of the poetry collections 'My Peace Poems', and 'Lilies, Gunpowder and Dreams'.

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