Culture & Society

Poem: Fleeting Wombs

From a warm womb I fall - into this crack between life and silence. Here I stay like bug stuck in tar. I have no choice, I know.

A Palestinian woman carrying her child walks in front of a mural
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From a warm womb I fall - 
into this crack between life and silence. 
It is chaotic, beats a grey tone, 
but no, not of life, it lacks the fervour.
not the silence of death either.

From a warm womb I fall - 
into this crack between life and silence. 
My mother asks,
“Which one do you choose?”
I look up at her from the crack,
I see her womb now - 
red, warm, teeming with life. 
Enricher, preserver, mother. 
She asks again.
“Fervour or silence?”

“I know, mother, 
for this abyss is not forever.” 
By every breath, it crushes me, 
like the bodies of two lovers -
it comes closer and closer,
until they become one,
and I become none. 

From a warm womb I fall - 
into this crack between life and silence. 
“Life,” I say. 
“Life? what life?” my mother spits into the crack.
The canyon floods. 
“They stole it from us, you filthy piece of flesh.”
Enricher, preserver, mother. 
Mother expects me to wage a war,
bring her back the stolen life. 
“Be a hero, you coward, spineless lump.”
My spines are not strong yet, 
I am only a foetus.  A warm, red lump. 
“You pig, get up, wield the sword, aim the gun.”
Enricher, preserver, mother. 

They came in tanks and planes, flags and fists,
an iron pipe spat a bomb. Boom. My mother fell, 
and me, the pig, the filthy flesh, slid out. 

From a warm womb I fall - 
into this crack between life and silence.
here I stay like bug stuck in tar.
I have no choice, I know.
neither does my mother.
“Death,” says my unformed tongue. 
The canyon snaps like magnets,
the foetus dissolves into atoms. 
In a snap, I am a brain,
red and warm, in a skull, in an army helmet. 
“Fire” says somebody, 
and the brain, the atoms, respond.
Boom!
From a warm womb I fall - 
into this crack between life and silence.
 

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