Reading Dunya Mikhail and Writing Complacency

Currently reading: Dunya Mikhail's The Beekeeper. Currently feeling: overwhelmed.

I am also halfway through Rania Abouzeid's No Turning Back: Life, Loss and Hope in Wartime Syria. There is no relief from these stories as they are read, and as a reader, I get the sense they're speeding up and driving on, long after I've placed my bookmark and moved on to other tasks. Rather than run from the momentum of wartime abuse, loss, rape, silence and listening, I feel it is best to return to them and continue. The narratives in these stories change the way your eyes work, the way your ears hear, the way you choose your words.

Which, sadly, still doesn't mean my brain won't sag for a minute in a bed of complacency. For days I just stare at it: my helplessness, ignorance, the miles between me and the borders between Turkey, Syria, Iraq. Eventually I write something and it sustains me just long enough to get back to reading.

I think this is my way of recommending books. Struggling and staring and poems.

My Complacency Is a Piano

My complacency is the piano
I shove from a third story window.
Two close friends arrive
after the strings and splinters settle
in the shape of a dahlia bloomed wide
on the sidewalk. One friend
says the piano is still a piano.
The other tells me its song
as it burst was brilliant, one of a kind.
I agree with both of them and wait
for what must happen next.


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