RLS -Memory



By- Zunaira Habib Alvi

I first heard about Palestine in the prayers of an old man preaching of remunerations and resurrections. Of holy wars and fates. It has become a memory since. Like flesh and bone and blood of my own, it lingers like a prayer buried underneath a recollection, a reflection, perhaps of my God, dare I say. I have never fought a thought just as much. I have never owned a memory just as such. I wake up to the deafening silences and bombed city alleys, wondering how many deaths could someone die? I wake up every morning nonetheless under a roof that still hangs and a home that's still mine. For how long, I don't know. Surely, I will be the next. Or the next to the next. I can already smell the ashes. Feel them as they cut through my nasal cavity bruising the inside of my throat. My voice is gone but yet I speak with whatever shriek that comes out of it. For a voice, however faint or feeble, shall always hit louder than silence. I bleed and watch against the rhythm of my heart, a mother losing her child, over and over again. Women born to the same fates birth the same too. I see the graves lay underneath. And I try to remember their names before they become distorted figures of a case study in a history class no one takes. But how to mourn the ones who were yet to be born, yet to be named? The unseen, the unheard. I remember the echo of a fading heartbeat. Someone who disappears, yet never leaves. Someone I didn't know, yet I mourn him a hundred times over. I have never fought a thought just as much. I have never owned a memory just as such.

Zunaira Habib Alvi

Zunaira Habib Alvi, a second-year history undergrad student at Women's College, Aligarh Muslim University, sees poetry as a tool for resistance and remembrance. From a city emblematic of Muslim identity, she feels a profound responsibility to amplify the silenced, articulate the unspoken, and unveil the invisible.