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In memory of my cousin’s mind

by Ashraf Booley


how you used to slow dance to the strumming strings;
your favourite 90’s R&B tunes pulsating from our then-trendy cassette player
swaying your hips to killing me softly
like nobody’s watching you?

how soon came your coming of age?
Love, motherhood, marriage, divorce –
wilting like sunflowers in the dark Day of Doom
without a chance to clasp at “straws”.

Tik tock, tik tock, tik tock…

Blazed on crooked crystals
that harm, not heal
Malak al-Maut* is coming for me!

A fleeting euphoria:
you flew with broken wings,
wings that were never meant to be flown with.
Now all you utter are ravings of madmen dancing against your bedroom walls,
killing you softly.


*The angel of death in Islamic lore