10: Spirituality - Oct 2021

Pain Soaked Prayer

I’ve been walking back and forth in my mind, on the floor
Coming clean when I said I can’t do this anymore. Sleep to see
Standing shapes with ringlets of eyes snapping the harness that pulls at my chest,
Pulling out my heart as it weaves through my ribcage. Spit out the bloodstains that 
Are messy, blossoming carnations against the stone. Patterned by the miracle of fire
In these carved out holes in cliffsides. Thunder calls the halt of my pilgrimage.

This is a hope of solace reaching back for the child scared of the lightning outside. 
Maybe she will be gladly soothed by the routine of verses, the chants 
Of long ago which we will never comprehend, and which we couldn’t remember to learn. 
The Ground shakes with titanic roars, shrinking her voice further back to the day of
Dropping a collection of lemons from her skirt. Rolling away like prayer beads 
Snapped by her doll-teeth.

The silence in the middle is heavy, like forgotten days. It comes like eternities
Of wars we were conscripted for ever since leaving the womb to
Become this rotting vessel that begs and pleads and decays with mercy. A brain stuffed 
With unholy colours, told it will go black and bleak. She has grown to abandon 
These pain-soaked prayers and run by the edge of a storm. Always got too close.
“I’ve been hoping to find you,” the lightning calls when it strikes her feet. 

Echoes in the stubborn dirt most welcoming with the criss-cross of hail slamming into her 
Face. Past God’s voice, beyond the blown apart lands and split seas, she sees the 
Cavern hollowed by her eyes and the stalactites formed from acid rain. She sees me
Waiting. Straining to return a watery smile that falls into the sea, where the ripples of 
Light in the water tear us apart. The sun may go down on us here. On the ocean and all
Its reflections replying, “Who’s there?”

- Zainab Imran

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