you didn’t love her.
you just didn’t want to be alone.
or maybe, she was just good for your ego.
or, or maybe she just made you feel better about your miserable life.
but you didn’t love her,
because you don’t destroy people you love.
I asked you never to text me again.
I spent an hour arranging and rearranging six words.
Because I knew that if you did I wouldn’t be able to say no.
You said there were other ways.
That it didn’t have to be black or white,
that you could change.
I memorized the way that the corners of your mouth fit perfectly beneath my lips.
And I asked God to forgive me for not being able to let go of that memory.
It is hard for us too.
They think it is just the men.
That only men grind beneath the fitnah of someone’s bare skin,
but the veins in your forearms made my heart flutter.
And I knew that one day,
when my yearning for God overwhelmed my yearning for you
that I’d have to shatter into a million tiny pieces to let you go.
And when that day came,
when my love for God was more
important than stolen glances across a table of friends,
or stolen kisses squished into the back seat of someone’s dying car,
or brushing hands when no one was looking,
I began to crack.
When I called you on the phone that night to say it had to end, you said that if I knew how much you liked me I’d be scared.
I was glad you couldn’t read my thoughts.
You said,“but, we are both Muslim?”
and those words made every inch of my skin red hot, because I knew then that you didn’t understand.
“I know” I whispered into the phone,
“Which is why we have to fear God”
“But, we haven’t done anything haram” you whispered in a way that made me think, that you really did believe that, that were true.
I thought of all of the Astagfirullahs I have said since knowing you,
and thought of all of the oceans I could fill.
Your voice got quiet,
“Fine then, we will just get married”
but late night whispered proposals over the phone, are only desperate solutions for earthly pains.
And we were not prescribed for each other, we were only meant to be lessons in each others lives.
Lessons on how loving the poison of this Dunya can only break your heart,
but that there is always someone waiting to repair it.
So when it was time to say Goodbye, you breathed into the phone for two whole minutes before you choked out “please don’t go”,
and after I hung up I sat listening to the screeching dial tone for half an hour,
Letting it tell me that I had done the right thing, but that I had waited too long.
For your unanswered prayers
That once you had wept for them.
And name you my country.
I throw all my dictionaries in the fire,
And name you my language.
سنا ہے دن کو اسے تتلیاں ستاتی ہیں
سنا ہے رات کو جگنو ٹھہر کے دیکھتےہیں
I have heard that the butterflies tease her during the day
I have heard that the fireflies stop and stare at her at night