Walking on a Shortened Path of Time
by Shaila Moulee
The love that you have given me shall not perish even if time separates two souls that were destined to meet. This is a love letter to you, my beautiful Ammu.
How many nights did you spend peeking through the windows
That open and close with each breath of the howling wind?
Are you still searching for the rainbow that curves over the meadows
Hiding timidly behind clouds that dare to veil its smile?
I remember watching raindrops stain the glass windows
As I stood atop your feet, tiptoes evading broken glass
Cloaking the echoes of your cries in the name of laughter.
We danced through nights that were lit
With a thousand fireflies aglow
When the rain slipped into my eyes, you were always there
To raise your trembling palms over my closed eyelids
At that moment I was unaware of the pain lingering behind your smile
And the sorrow that had invaded your heart
As you cast your gaze upon the shadows dancing on the gray walls
I thought I had closed my eyes for only a brief moment
But now that I look at you,
I can’t help but shed tears at the sight of your white hairs
And the golden bangles that are now covered with rust
With sleepless nights that govern your time in this world,
Mom, please hold on just a little longer.
As life goes on, I’m still unsure of how to find my way home
But I know you’ll be there waiting for me
While I walk in search of the secrets that you buried
In our blooming garden, doused by rain that falls in your eyes with no relent.
If I were to stop walking, would you hold my hands?
I’m sorry for not knowing that your feet are bruised
From walking on roads that are pebbled and narrow
Mom, I know that you are still searching
For the warmth in the cold world of adults
And I’m sorry for remaining silent that night in December
When I witnessed the weighty breath you released
Evaporate before me in the room
As you grieved the loss of your beloved father
Though I may not say it often,
I hope you know that I admire your strength to lower your wings
You saw my inner child drowning in the sea of adulthood
And with each wave of a rising tide, you held me closer
For that I truly thank you and I promise to be a better daughter
So that you as a mother can feel content
With the flower road that trails your quiet footsteps
If you ever find yourself lost in the essence of fear
Take a moment to reminisce about our love that is written in the stars
Even if your vision is obscured by the sudden downpour
You can hold onto my fingers the same way I held onto yours
The very first moment I met you
Now that I’m getting older, I’ve gotten used to the nights that drown in silence
But if I were to stop dreaming,
Would you cradle me in your arms like you once did before?
You’ve taught me that acts of love transcend the boundaries of language
So please don’t stray when my heart bleeds through your wrinkled clothes
You give me a reason to believe in myself and I sincerely thank you
For watering my soul with the tears that rush from those tired eyes.
You’ve seen my feet limp along a darkened path.
I see yours, too.
May Allah have mercy upon your soul and grant you the strength
To be patient with yourself in the same manner you raised me
Even if our footprints evanesce
Along a shortened path of time
And our eyes become quenched from an eternal storm
I will always love you,
Girls Write Now On the Other Side of Everything: The 2023 Anthology
Do you know what it’s like to communicate with your family across a salty ocean’s divide? Do you want the sun and moon to enter your home with stories written in embers? Do you seek voices that will punctuate the darkness? Welcome to the other side of everything. It’s the other side of silence, the other side of childhood, the other side of hate, the other side of indifference, it’s the other side of sides, where the binary breaks down. It’s a new paradigm, a destination, a different perspective, a mindset, a state of openness, the space between the endless folds in your forehead, hopes for tomorrow, and reflections on the past. This anthology of diverse voices is an everything bagel of literary genres and love songs, secrets whispered in the dark of night, conversations held with ancestors under the sea.
I am the daughter of a remarkable woman who has painted my youthful dreams in the color of love. From a very young age, I have witnessed the extent to which a mother guards the hearts of those who seek solace beneath her wings. In her early twenties, my mom was brought into a new house with new people to call her own. She balanced her studies, completed her master’s degree, and even took on the responsibility of two families in the fulfillment of her duties as a wife and mother.
In the rural areas of Bangladesh, there is a stigma around having daughters. Some people view the birth of girls as an obstacle in one’s pursuit of success. Despite the taunting words of others, my mother sacrificed her happiness for the livelihoods of three little girls. I wanted to write a piece dedicated to my mom in recognition of her hard work over the last few years. In a world that is driven by falsehood, she is a reflection of my truth. Paradise truly lies beneath the feet of a mother and I will do anything in my power to ease her pain as she continues to walk barefoot on an endless road.
Shaila Moulee is currently a sophomore in high school who aspires to pursue her interest in the field of literature. She is a young Muslim girl who recognizes the importance of her Bengali-American background. Her writing centers around the notions of youth, life, family and the phenomena of the natural world. Shaila is always eager to experiment with literature! She is passionate about composing material on the grounds of poetry, personal narratives, short stories and even songwriting. Her persona is encapsulated within her written pieces as she continues to document her experiences with the world around her.