By Maryam Malik
My grandmother was a little like a broken shed
On the side of the road.
You walk past her, a glance turns to a frown,
you keep walking.
Nena was my first real heartbreak,
And I was only a child.
Who could’ve known this would’ve sparked an unlikely acquaintanceship
It introduced me to sadness,
Both genderless and bodiless.
But its voice was of molten gold and in harmony,
Dripped with honey spikes,
That speared through my paper-thin skin,
That bled the words mama spat in my face every other hour of my wake for
The past twenty years.
The pot of guilt and shame and embarrassment
rest beside my creaking bed,
They are too full on days I can’t move to empty them into the trash.
Right now they’re filling my room,
And all I can remember is an imprinted picture
Of the broken house that Nena was,
When life itself doesn’t know what to do
and calls over cousin death for advice,
then death just invites the guest over to their house instead.
And off they went
With the broken house
And the windows facing brick walls
And the green, spoilt carpeted floors
And the mold that covered the ceiling
And the hours spent crying in the toilet
And the weeds that peeked through the wooden backdoor
And my broken heart.
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Maryam Malik is a 21-year-old Bahraini student majoring in English Literature and French. When she’s not passionately writing poetry and doting over fictional characters, she’s almost always listening to music.