what the war has done to us

what the war has done to us

warm philadelphia night. blue bruise across the sky. groceries in hand. i dreamt last night of honey. my grandmother called me into a dream, like she used to call me into a room. she gave me honey. honey for you. you, who will not talk. who will not swallow the news. who will not let anything near your throat. but, i can find you. i can find you even when you are there, in morroco. even when you have flown through your eyes but not your body. when you are holding me, and i am practicing being limp with restraint, because i am really holding you. when you refuse to change back from water and want to fill our whole house with the sebou. i know, my sweet. we have talked about her the entire length of our love. she was in your eyes the day i met you. remember, you and i. on the floor, you teaching me of how she eats. three fingers on the right hand only. i have worn her clothes. ate her language from your mouth. and i knew, i knew when the phone calls came, and the tv started shrieking, and our house turned into weather, i knew this would break some of our bones. but my love, it is drinking us down to our teeth. i can not see you anymore. your smile, your legs, your heat, is lonely. the honey, grandmother said, is for your blood. it is to bring you back. but, she said, i must first ask ‘if’ you want to come back. and though ‘if’ is a razor to my neck, i must be brave, i must know. so i am not asking ‘when’ you will come back. because, i can take it, the swimming in your body, the lostness you like, your appetite for doors. i am not asking when. ‘when’ is not something you ask someone when the body of their aunt can not be found. i am asking ‘if’. because i am here. dangling from your left ring finger, ringing oceans out of my skin, and coming home every night. i know, she is the love you are, the land you are made of, and she is hemmoraging. war is eating her heart. but, you are losing yours too, my love.

– Nayyirah Waheed

i must first ask ‘if’ you want to come back. and though ‘if’ is a razor to my neck, i must be brave.

 

a lost love is still in Iraq, a dozen years in. i ache for him now. for what we went through. my war is over.

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