My Ramadan Poem

I could write this in metaphors,
Project images
Of my parents
Sitting at the dinner table
At Maghrib
Sipping water
Through prayers
Said in unison,
Of my brothers
Fighting about who
Gets to ride shotgun
On the way to taraweeh
Only to realise
That it didn’t matter
So long as they got there,
The sound of my father’s voice
Reciting just before Fajr,
The frantic run around
To get the last bite in
At that ten minute pocket
Between Imsak
And true dusk;
And I would have
Six years ago
Young and naive
And unaware
Of my own privilege
The kind of person
Who doesn’t see colour
Or geographical
Advantage
But I’ve grown
And now all I see
Is the reflections
Of ghosts
Who could have had this
If only accidents of birth
Were exchangeable,
So how is it
That I am meant to write
Stories of happy families
And dinner spreads
And serene spirituality,
When the battle inside
Does not cease
When Ramadan comes,
Instead it intensifies
Until the fire inside
Eats its way to the surface
And lights
My way?
How,
When my people
Dwindle
And die,
Do I sit beside the flame
And pray
For my own rebirth?
How
Is it not selfish
To make this fast
All about us?

 

About the Author:

Sharifa Tartoussi

Sharifa is a one a dental student, poet, performer, part time worrier and full time human. When she is not squinting at teeth or hitting the books, she writes and sometimes, she works up the courage to perform. She is involved in several projects, most notably becoming half the founding part of GriffinSpeak which is a poetry and spoken word gig that runs quarterly and aims to create space for voices from marginalised groups around Melbourne. Her work focuses mainly on ideas of race identity and inclusive feminism in the arts with features at We Run with Wolves, Imaginary Landscapes and most recently, the official Melbourne Spoken Word poetry Album: Audacious Issue 4

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