In the time of the quiet men I
listen to the sounds of the distant wails.
Howls, whimpers, disintegrating
tears softening the edges of the mountainous
foils, slowly– decaying in the hands which wearily caressed
their hills. Used, distressed, damaged.
In those nights embracing my own stomach, I give
my grandmother’s womb the tenderest of kisses, the
tenderest of songs which she never let herself to own.
I sing to her of her real name which her mother, and her
mother before gave in memory of the
swallows that grazed the Tengri sky, giving passage to the
sun-kissed Umai. Soothing– the blissful cries of those who came before the
wrenched out tulips.
I quietly hum to my grandmother’s womb that I too hear
the girl knocking, thumping, pleading
to see her memory.
Sometimes I wish that I can even call it a memory,
not a distant pain that I feel in the presence of the familiar sunken face. The
withdrawn eyes in the secluded center of the mindless glees of her own frail tulips.
I wish I could tell her that her memory, her womb is safe with me–
caressed with lullabies that she never let herself to hear .
I wish I could tell her that in the time of the quiet men and the distant wails I
could hold her tight and call her by her real name.
Editors: Danielle C., Cathay L., Joyce P., Claudia S., Erika Y.
Image source: Unsplash