- What They Remember
Abdul Rashid remembers his father reading a newspaper at the facade of their house before bullets tore his body, before they came — two men, their hands heavy with machine guns, their voices quaking the earth as they dragged his father’s corpse to a faraway place. Abdul Qasim remembers feeding his mother’s goats when rockets ripped the roof of their house, when his mother, now dead, choked the air with his name. Umm Salimah remembers watching her son play with his toy before smoke engulfed her, before they crushed his body to dust. AbdulQadri remembers his mother’s corpse wrapped in a mat, towed to a distant cemetery, buried amid a sea of tears. Rahaman remembers watching his mother lie in bed, gasping for breath, reaching for his severed arm. My mother remembers washing the dishes when the sky darkened, when gunshots claimed the silence that swallowed the streets. My mother remembers her sister’s grave, her brother’s tomb, her uncle’s fallen house in iraq, grenades plundering their farmland, fire raging like thunder. My father remembers his father’s last words: This is home. No matter the weight of this war, son, this is home. I remember walking to where monuments bear the names of lost soldiers in nigeria, the names of raped women in bangladesh, the names of dead children in gaza, the names of refugees searching for a home in pakistan. [End Page 14]
Rasaq Malik is a graduate of the University of Ibadan. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, Juked, Connotation Press, Grey Sparrow, and elsewhere. He is awaiting the publication of his debut poetry collection.