Lonely Sunsets

by Isha Gupta

noorie does not wait for the train to Beirut anymore.
it carries hope in the form of starvation and tuberculosis,
and she loves sunsets a little too much.
her brother was born with a silver spoon in his mouth
except the spoon was a shrapnel
and silver was the colour of the shroud they covered ammi with.

noorie turned 15 this ruddy autumn
when the roads were adorned by more rouge than bloody trees with amber leaves.
the carcass of her dreams hangs from the gallows along with the boys
who mistook democracy for freedom.
she paints her skies with shades of crimson instead of cerulean–
only the granite of her pencils and the grenades
of the president romanticize sunsets, now.

noorie never learnt how to loop her words into letters of dissent
the graffiti which took her creed to the streets burns like the dark mark on her left forearm.
and her neck. and her bosom.
sunsets seep through the makeshift window of her paper house like words telling her to escape
but she still dots her i’s with fragments of fear and lines her t’s with blood smears she can only
hope were not her abbu’s.

noorie does not know how to hide
so she seeks until she what she seeks for gets consumed by starving fires or starving soldiers
from the other side of the metaphorical border or the starving earth which opens up for
everything except for her.
the sun sets on all she was ever forced to love with a finality she is yet to learn what to do with.
she is yet to unlearn, unhook, unhinge her damned naseeb.

noorie does not wait for the train to Beirut, anymore.
her home lies painted in shades of wars
while her body lays bare for jihadists in the name of religion
she wears the syrian flag instead of her niqab
while her burqa pays homage to the street she took her first breath in.
the kohl she uses for nazar comes from the coal of burnt wreckage
while her name mocks the existence of every Allah her people pray to.
the only Allah she has known was the man who fed her truth from a liqueur bottle.
noorie does not believe in salvation, anymore;
only in lonely sunsets and their lessons in rahm.

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

Accountancy student by day, and poet by night, Isha Gupta revels in dark metaphors, fictional books, puppies, and reruns of Brooklyn 99. She can usually be found surrounded by a stack of books, with a bowl of ice cream in one hand, and a pen in another.