Sculpture by Noura Badran.
They’re standing in front of their demolished homes,
watching the cables dangling from the roof,
windows blasted off their frames and their piano shattered to pieces.
All replaceable, they said.
And when they are done pulling their scattered hearts from the floor,
they grab a broomstick and start sweeping
the wreckage from every corner of their souls.
This morning they are wiping their tears
through the screeching sound of broken glass,
shovelling the deafening rubble into cardboard boxes.
One after another, people nonchalantly walk past,
brooms and dustpans in hand, sharing words of comfort.
They’re prepared I thought, it’s like they’ve seen it all before, history repeating itself
“We need gloves!” I yell, “we need gloves!”
She casually reassures me “it’s fine, we’ll be done in no time!”
I can’t see a trace of what we shared last week,
warm greetings, honking cars, carefree chattering
at the café-trottoir. Didn’t we crawl our way through
the endless string of calamities, vowing for better days,
viciously addicted to hope?
If hope isn’t our most lethal drug,
but a soothing balm over our never healing wounds,
and a pair of rose tinted glasses,
then my darling Beirut, you never looked so pink.
But this morning, I don’t recognise you,
everything turned to blue and dust,
maybe so you won’t know yourself anymore.
How did this happen? I want to hide,
I want to lock myself in a dark room
and reminisce on your old days.
I want to yell this pain so loud,
that some distant God would listen
and bring you back to me.
But they’re on the phone to the window man,
2.35 by 1.80, “can you get here by Friday?”
They got the carpenter over, he’s fixing the broken door
And the corner shop is open again,
colorful bags of crisps all lined up on the rack
They’ve pulled up their wonky plastic chairs,
having their morning coffee, as they always do
only today, their backs facing a windowless frame.
“Gloves”, she called me back to tell me
“we can’t do this without gloves”.
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