You are not
You are not the ageing tortoise shell.
You are not the pillows of my hands
You are not the metallic taste in my mouth when I wake
(though you could be those threads running underneath my tongue).
I doubt you are the strands of hair which survive in my windowsill
(and are likely to have lost their film of neem oil)
Though you could be the windowpane itself, which allows me the view of the sky; the interesting birds.
(You are not the birds).
You are not hidden in bone, you do not bloom in the marrow.
You are (in my opinion) not the rain in November that studs my scalp.
(But you might be the heat pressing against my body in the market souk near the mosaic-mirrored shisha stall).
You are not the sacred cow, a murmur in the heart or blood-spit in the sink.
If I open my book you might well be the fly’s open wing dashed on the page.
You are not the hand of god on an incoherent foetal face.
But yes, I think you might be that moment when the clouds ripen
(just before the rain, before it hits the cloth of my dress, my cold hands).
- By Mona Arshi, from her book Small Hands at the centre of which is the slow detonation of grief after her brother’s death.