This Is My Home and I’d Like It If I Were Buried Here
Sometimes I want to sink into the red brickwork of this house. I think of this too often when I smell and swallow the green Vines hanging like despondent girls in my father’s garden. I’d like to sink into the red poppies, the ones I’d pick as A child and never pin to my black hair. I’d like to sink into the soil from where all the sunflowers Would ache to shoot like wild meteors in the night. I’d like to drown completely in the jamun tree That reeks of children’s skin and small hands. For sixty years, my family has slumbered here like statues, Lonely, white as Buraq, wrapped in Greek togas. We are slowly breaking ourselves and moving our arms, We are slowly walking toward another land. Our patriarchs changed like the seasons. First there was an Englishman with his family, Then my grandfather, his son, now my brother. But the odors cling to us like the smell of phenyl. The drawing room scented like the blood of Kashmiri chai, The kitchen of Indian spices, The jamun tree of children’s hands, their blood spilled dark. Today the house is proud. Tomorrow they will bomb it down.
I used to scribble graphite mountains on the walls, I used to tear the marble floor with my hands, I used to knuckle the reddening walls, I was thirteen, my anger was pure, and the house knew it. The house called me names, called me crazy and deranged. The house pulled me by the neck and tried to slit my throat. The house killed me, made me fall and injure my lip. But this is my home and I’d like it I were buried here.
Aytan Laleh is a twenty-one-year-old writer based in Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming with Eunoia Review, Riggwelter Press, Picaroon Poetry, isacoustic and Bone & Ink Press. She writes under a pseudonym and tweets at @AytanLaleh.