Garlands

An unlikely comparison between wars and garlands, a heart-breaking state of affairs and the complete breakdown of a system.


The war widow cried herself to sleep last night,

but not for reasons you might think.

Her protector was tortured for information he didn't have,

in a faraway land,

of sunny mornings and pleasant evenings,

not for the widow though, she hates the time difference,

and rightly so.

Her lover was taken away,

but she doesn't sleep alone.

She sleeps with nightmares of birthing penniless teenagers,

of hunger-stricken parents,

of the cancer,

caused by rotting memories.

Thoughts of hanging herself are too expensive for her.

So, she gets seduced by the nightmares,

every night, every day.

But this story is not about her.

Let's start from the start.

I'm a war widow too.

Except, I was in the war.

I, too, was tortured, stabbed, undressed, felt and humiliated,

the Sun fell that day.

It was not very long ago,

my mother had told me about the tale of a naked young girl,

found on the streets,

raped, depraved and disposed of.

I was the naked girl, and the naked girl was me.

The war widow’s lover fought for his home,

so, a garland was put around the widow’s neck.

She choked,

but at least, the flowers were easy on the eyes.

Do you know what is not easy on the eyes?

Monsters.

I’ve heard it's not a bad word,

I've heard it's Latin for the messenger of catastrophe.

But I have questions!

What happens?

When the catastrophe turns you inside out.

When your mind is incinerated,

your body, eviscerated.

When the uninvited fall,

claims to have been enticed by the natural exercises of your being,

of your mundane acts of laying, walking, covering and uncovering.

I’d say, this monster is a bad word.

Meanwhile, the war widow is tormented by the realities of hollowness.

An empty bedside,

and regretful salutes,

of trunks of baby pictures,

and of a fingerless wedding ring.

So, when I told her about my war.

She was numb,

a little less than I was left that night.

I tell her of the horrors of sleepless nights, suicidal thoughts, murderous wonderments, bloody

scars,

still numb.

Then, she asked me about my monsters.

“Did they meet their fate?”

She monotonously asked me about my insaaf.

But I don't like talking about my monsters.

I see them everywhere,

on high teas, and at birthday parties.

I see them in mirrors,

for they are omnipresent, and the opening of their dimension is at every nook and corner.

But I decide to speak to her,

For hollowness and blood connects us.

The numb widow and I have something more in common.

You must remember

The easy-on-the-eyes flowers.

She frowns at me in ambiguity.

I tell her “I saw my monsters wearing garlands on TV last night.”

She was no longer numb,

and cried herself to sleep that night.