Poem

Piecing Together Heartbreak

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Piecing together heartbreak: a collection of wordplay
composed when my world fell apart.

Forward
This is a gift for the grieving
a potential allieving
for the pain at present.
Unwrap it—this anesthetic,
to repair the heart’s jagged pieces,
so that its scar can stop bleeding.

سهوم
لو كنت تعلم أن قلبي يرتجف
كالقوس يخاف أن يفوت الهدف
كيف يكون سهوم مكسورة
ولو ثقوب غميمة في الصدور؟

ما أعرف حالك الخلد
أخاف ان يسلط الجلد
فاذا هي جلد حية
تفترسني و انا حيا

If only you knew how my heart quivered 
Like the arrow afraid to miss its target 
How can there be broken arrows 
yet deep holes in the chests? 

I don’t know your true state 
I’m scared your skin will peel back 
And it will be like the skin of a snake 
Preying on me while I still live

فتح
كل يوم حديبية
حتى فتح لي بنكاحة
و كل يوم مكة في الجاهلية
حتى كما قال الصحبة، الصحبة

Every day is Hudaybiyyah
until He grants me success by way of marriage
And every day is Makkah al-Mukarramah in Jahiliyyah
Until it is as he said, “Companionship, companionship”

عيوني*
أعطيتني العيْن الحمْرا
ولو عيني بيضاء
ما فيني أن سأكسر بصرك
إلا فيك أن تكسر صدري

*Literal:
You gave me the red eye
And though mine are white
I won’t break your gaze
Unless you break my chest.

*Figurative:
You’re fond of me
And though I’ve cried from all the emotion
I won’t have eyes for anyone else
Unless you break my heart.

Magnitude
I will allow this devastation to shake me
with the magnitude it is due.
Its thundering quake
its aftershocks and tremors—
I just pray that I am still left standing after.

(All of the radars
somehow missed this).

Words
There are terms for widows and divorcees
but what for the lost loves? The ex-fiances?
Who piece together heartbreak,
puzzled, jigsawed, in their chambers?

Dictionary
The most painful word isn’t “love.”
It’s “you.”
It was always “you.”

Gigabytes
Today, I can’t remember if I ate.
But I recall your favorite food from our date.
I avoid the dress we met in like it’s the plague,
—Have I done the laundry? It all feels vague.

Why does my short-term memory
never seem to save details about me?

Cemetery
Everyone says I dodged a bullet.
But you’re digging your own grave, you know it.

I tried to be a necromancer. I tried to revive this.

What a grave mistake.

Tarragone
At first glance, I thought you were wearing chainmail.
But when I took a closer look, I only saw scales.

I’d forgotten that monsters were in fairytales.

Aphelion
I thought I’d finally be a planet.
A ring around me, strong as granite.

You were the sun, I was caught in your orbit.
You burned so bright; I was starstruck, hit by comets.

Call me supernova, Aphelion,
because this feels like death by destruction.

Two weddings and a funeral
While you’re preparing for a wedding with another
I find myself at death every day. 

I do.

Medicine
Do they give vaccines for wedding season?
A prescription for devastation?

Maybe if I mask, I can stand it.
… I can’t. I’m going to be sick.

February
Can’t the algorithm tell I have no sweetheart?
If anything, I’ll buy chocolate on discount.
For the upteenth time, I won’t be celebrating the fourteenth.

It’s about time that we got rid of Valentine’s.

Myths
I wish I could blame Cupid 
for messing with my psyche.

Persephone wasn’t the only one dragged underground,
but I know that every Narcissus goes on to drown.
You were my world, you know.

Now, if I was Atlas, with you on my shoulders,
I would shrug.

Idolatry
I know that sacred love requires sacrifices
but you surrounded my neck with too many knives.

I left your altar
for a life, altered

and from now on, I won’t shirk the Divine.

Naivete
In my youth, I wondered how there could be an Angel of Death.
Then I met devils in the forms of humans
and animals who had more chivalry than men.

Irreconcilable Differences
I wonder if it would’ve changed things.
If I had the same color as your skin,
or if our tongues spoke similarly.
But that didn’t matter—you’d prefer if we were just history.

How could you value a parent’s opinion 
more than a prophet’s teaching?

Chemicals
To wake, caffeine—
To sleep, melatonin—
If only I had the dopamine—
to keep going.

A Joke
How can every sign lead to a dead end?
Rose-colored glasses often miss red flags!

Tropes
I wonder if you made me the villain,
yourself the protagonist,
and us from strangers to strangers.

“Heroes” often tell the stories.
You want to tell your side? Feel free.
Be sure to include the preface on how you changed me.

Fairy Tales
My father told me, “If you are not a wolf, other wolves will eat you.”
Yet I wore rose-colored glasses and a red riding hood.

I wondered through the woulds, met your disguise,
eaten alive, after I saw your eyes.
My! What big lies (you had).

The girl who cried, “Wolf!” 
survived.

Cry of the Needle
Hanging by threads,
I try to string together words, make amends
patch things up, meter by meter,
between us, and stitch myself together—

… But I was never very good at sewing.

Gardening
Roses are red, 
violets are blue.
I didn’t think I’d bleed
from the thorns of you.

Floriography
Did you know that peonies 
are for new beginnings?
Of course you didn’t.
The only bouquet you liked was the one you bought me.

(How did our relationship ever bud to begin with?)

Daisies
He loves me, he loves me not…
He loves me, he loves me not…
(You know, maybe I’m allergic to flowers for a reason).

Subjects
The mental acrobatics were Olympian
The only solution to this problem was elimination.

Leave it to a writer to fail 
such a calculated risk.

Maps
In losing you I found myself.
I should thank you,
but they say you shouldn’t look behind
when moving forward.

I’m glad that you were only a stop along the way.

The End
I wrote you words that you’ll never read 
in a story that never began 
but finished all too soon.

A work in regress
finally published.

I close this chapter.
My acknowledgements. 

I write:
I love you.
Prefaced by “once upon a time.”

Here’s to my happily ever after.

Hannah Alkadi is a lawful good social media master, cat mom, and total nerd. She began writing in the pixels of online threads among friends since she was 13 and continues now in the pages of her first novel idea. Her work has been featured in Amaliah.

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