“Have you ever felt like jumping off the world?”
Upon the questioner’s face my gaze falls.
Frozen tears avalanche and melt into warm streams.
Her face screams through tired creases as she whispers,
“I want my fingertips to grace the sky as it blushes a stain of plum
With my arms thrown up as I dive off the earth and splash into the universe.”
I watch her peer back at me from behind the watery curtains that drape her irises.
“Eardrums burst and walls shatter when they spit spears at each other.
They snarl as they fire cannons of words at one another’s faces.
Thereafter, silence stabs the brittle air, shattering it.
The pieces fall on the floor and gather dust
As they turn blind and deaf to the presence of the other.”
I ask if they’ve done the same to her; she solemnly shakes her head.
“Only she who bore me.
My roots burned when she clenched and yanked on a fistful of hair.
She twisted my head this way and that,
Turning me into a puppet as I barely touched the floor.
Letting out trepid shrieks and wails, she released me and screamed.
Sprawled on the floor, I wondered what it would feel like to jump off the world.”
But she gave birth to you, and she once gave you tender warmth, I murmur.
“She was so adamant that my disorder would rot the rest of me,
That my beauty was stripped, and I was bare in shame,
That I would shrivel alone in the hospital
To the extent that she wouldn’t be beside me.
Despite it all, I couldn’t shrug off the agony and jump off the face of the earth.
How could I say goodbye to the ones who brought me up when I was young?”
My eyes wander over her face.
“I cannot bid farewell.
They may not hold on to each other; she may not hold on to me
But I found a way to embrace them – with Sabrun Jameel:
“I will only jump off the face of the earth to lament to Almighty God.
Was it not Prophet Ya’qub who only complained of his suffering and grief to Him?”
I agree that it was indeed true Sabrun Jameel.
I gaze at her watching me
As one last tear meanders down her face, I lift my hand to wipe it off.
At last, I rub my cheek to dry the skin,
Smiling at my reflection in the mirror.
In this poem, there are two speakers: one with her dialogue in quotation marks, and the other without. The first describes how her parents fight in the second verse and how her mother treats her harshly. She then describes her mother’s abuse, and how she is scolded about her skin disorder. The feeling of “jumping off the face of the earth” is not referencing suicide, but a way to figuratively describe her longing to liberate her soul and body from the hardship at home. But she realized that although her parents may mistreat her, they still are her parents who raised her and cared for her when she was young. She finds a solution by remembering Prophet Ya’qub who only complained of his grief to Allah, thus allowing him to have beautiful patience and not run from the present situation. She decided that she would only liberate herself from agony by confiding in Allah alone. At the end of the poem, it is understood that the two speakers were actually just one girl talking to her reflection in the mirror.