What A Minute Means by Sarah El Halabi

November 18, 2018

Swasti,

to endings, beginnings and beyond.

 

60

 

My sister shuts the glass door

behind her.

and as she rolls out her luggage

explains to us:

I’ll call when I cross the ocean

it’ll all feel like a minute.

 

50

 

the age my mum is

the day she loses her mother

also the day my sister lands

a warm summer afternoon, calls

to tell us she read Amiss in Wonderland

on the plane?

and to ask us

how we are all faring without her.

 

40

 

The number of days we

wear black, our hearts still fresh

with memory

throughout I pray-

the best way I know

I leave an extra plate on our kitchen table

 

30

 

the number of seconds it takes

for the people who love

to lift a little old woman on their shoulders and

I remember hearing, we are compensated for

by your safety

Arabic for: We love you,

may you grieve in gentler ways.

 

20

 

this part of the minute I miss

on my way home, my shirt

watered with the tears of people

who do not forget,

the warmth of kisses:

3 in a row, the warmth of coffee

always brewing on her stove

 

 

zero.

I am born

a warm summer afternoon

my grandmother holds me

though my heart is not beating.

 

 

Zero,

 

I am born

a warm summer afternoon

my grandmother is there

when my heart starts beating

this is forever, she explains

even if it’s just

 

60

for a minute.

 

Photography by: Omar Abou Hamdan