our kafan in waterless washing machine

we part our hair the same way from the middle, with a broken tip of our  ancestor’s bodkin  

you look a lot like my mother and i look a lot like your aunt who looks a lot like  your grandfather. when you run out of lagging cassettes, we listen to the songs  of crickets, sitting in the verandah of your uncle who is battling parkinsons.  when he serves us kashmiri chai, we drink the remnants of it from the tray one  bitter sip after another while you tell me he looks a lot like your paralyzed  mother. we always face the opposite ends of the mossed walls, the wall on your  side is illuminated by yellow street light put there by the son of our favorite  lemon scented widow, and i find myself smiling at the closeness of our  shadows. little did we know your uncle stabbed her husband.

we eat our rice the same way, with bare hands, without taking a single breath 

we fight for the first fried falafel all thirty days of ramadan every lunar year. in  our constant need to fight we always forget that its burning hot and you hurt my  hands with your soot-covered nails while i blow cool air of forgiveness inside  your mouth, the same mouth that years later curses my daughter. when ama asks  how it tastes? i always tell her its too salty (i do not mention that her  schizophrenic husband who died in the basement used to make it so much  better), you always kiss her salty hands in gratification. the same hands that  demand your crucifixion a decade later. 

we tie our shoelaces the same way, we leave a scarlet star in the middle.  

in our neighbor’s back yard i always help you get off the tires, their dead  daughters’ makeshift swings, and you always win at climbing the walls while i  learn to get used to the swiftness of your leaving limbs. whenever i put spongebob bandaids on your injured knees, i cry in anticipation of your lifeless  body dragged around in a green wheelchair, looking for your son’s initials on  the pyramids listed with names of the martyred. whenever you sit on the pirate  boat with me, you tell me you will never go to joyland again yet you say it with  a smile. i think I buried your legs under the boat. i think i buried our love there,  too.

we hand in our homework the same way, a day too late. just like our divorce papers. 

i wear your musky perfumes and you carry my bag all summer noons telling me i will faint and embarrass you if i carry it by myself. i keep sucking lollipops after lollipops to hide my affection till i turn into a candy that tastes like rotten  blood of your grieving brother who lost his daughter and her aluminum mother.  till my bag becomes heavy with the weight of their body parts nestled between  the sliced figs of our beating hearts.  

we watch television the same way, muted, low in brightness, full of macabre  images from latest bomb blasts

you look a lot like our daughter. yet as we sit in a cafe, drinking boba tea from  the same crystal black mug, one sip at a time, we look a lot like strangers who  supported different countries in a war fought before the birth of their beloved  mothers. you look a lot like a stranger whose grandfather shot the pharmacist for selling birth control pills to captive mothers. i look a lot like a stranger whose mother gave birth at her husband’s funeral. 

we put on the same clothes in the same way, five wraps of kafan


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