You learnt to turn your fingertips
into curves of light,
to breathe bombs in,
Time's often passing quietly
over my skin, now. There's even
a smile on my face, sometimes.
But sometimes, I hear
your voice in someone's
throat, and my heart wrinkles
into a tiny, ugly fly
crying under my ribcage.
How can I convince this
rebellious muscle to stop wanting you?
Ah, Noura. There's so much ache and pain in these words, and you write in such a vivid, yet unsentimental way, that's purely natural. Here, there's just a great balance of poetic and concrete imagery and it's juxtaposed in a clever way. 'breathe bombs in, music out' is stunning. There are not many people here who can empathise with what you've been through, so it's never easy to 'critique' poetry like this.
The only quibbles, in a poetic sense, are in the longer stanza of this poem. The first, is the repetition of 'sometimes'. It's a bit disquieting, and too simple to warrant repetition, even though I understand the placement of it. I get the realisation that there are moments when there is light, life, music, reality, and those times are just as frequent as when the memories stir, and releases pangs of pain throughout the body, wiping the smile, reducing you to, as you say 'an ugly fly. 'But there are times I hear', would be a suggestion, other than the second 'sometimes' perhaps.
I also feel that you could upgrade 'crying' to something stronger, or even something more evocative of the imagery you've created in this stanza? I don't hear an ugly fly 'crying'. The verb and the image don't match as well as they could.
Your best writing is when you just...speak. You have such a wonderful poetic voice, that, as you can see from the comments, captures the hearts of your readers. That last stanza, simple but gut wrenching. It might be the first time I've heard a heart described as a rebellious muscle. It's brilliant.
“How can I convince this
rebellious muscle to stop wanting you”
What a strong statement this is!! It says and conveys a lot!! It is a muscle, but it still beats so much feelings, that every part of the body feels it!
I hope to see this nominated, and I wish you the best :)
Oh, Noura, this was hauntingly beautiful. I love that you have had those moments where you can relax into a smile, where time has passed and maybe you thought it would be impossible to get through. I only can know a tiny, tiny fraction of the mourning, of the memories you often heartbreakingly write in your verses.
I think no matter how many months, years etc, that it can still be a painful, sharp surprise when we see or hear that person we miss. That reminder that our hearts may never be prepared for. That knocks down our defenses and those emotions come flooding back in violent ways.
What stood out to me most in this is how you described breathing in bombs but exhaling music. Something many of us can not relate to, such chaos and realities of war, yet you are brought back perhaps by this memory of rebellion: of defying what could easily tear you up.
I hope for more moments, however brief, where you have a true, tangible feeling of joy. Be that in a smile or something else. You deserve everything good and I can't imagine how hard that would be to be jolted suddenly back into that sadness, that yearning. But it just shows souls can never be forgotten, not when they've made such an impact.