Laila, the moon, blankets her children in poplars to give them impenetrable skin. She knows firsthand how metal birds circling the arid skies could extinguish the noor from your face. Hers is punctured with crags and potholes. Did you know that it had once slain thousands of soothsayers in its luminescence? A pair of dimmed kohl-stained orbs gracing the top of her visage used to be a well for wandering fakirs to quench their thirst so they could continue searching for god in hydration. Her eyes would have dried out long ago, like her tears, had the sockets not become hidden treasuries containing forgotten knowledge of old. She is a living mausoleum in a land of slaughtered libraries.
At night, Laila whispers ghazals into the children’s ears. The ney-wind echoes her melody through the distance, touching the undead that are still alive in resigned prostration, perpetually praying under shattered minarets in an eternal sunset. There are no muezzins left in this etiolated house of worship. And so her voice has replaced the call to prayer summoning the faithful. Someday, it will roar in her children’s mouths as a war chant to turn this moonscape into a lush oasis.
Until then, she awaits the bloom of red roses on their vascular skins.
Spring will come once more, and with it – home.
-- filzah m.h.