Jumping On The Bed Hibah Shabkhez Poetry

local_library Jumping On The Bed

by Hibah Shabkhez

Published in Issue No. 273 ~ February, 2020

When at last they all marched out, to the fifes and drums that play over the hills and far away, all of us sought to cleanse and mend our desecrated lands. Some sought oblivion, catharsis, rebirth in new names: Ceylon became Sri Lanka, Burma Myanmar, and Siam Thailand. Did they heal themselves thereby? We do not know. [Tell us. Please, tell us, we need to know this.] Others, like Singapore, Japan, and China, kept the name and forged themselves new selves instead, for better or for worse. Or maybe they excavated and glued into wholenesses / new brokennesses their old souls buried deep in colonial vaults. Did they heal themselves thereby? We do not know. [Tell us. Please, tell us, we need to know this.] And we who hail from the Land of the Lost? Hacked out like a first-time-baker sponge-cake slices from a baking pan, born in blood and brotherhood as two unwieldy wings minus a bird, what were / are we? One little country jumping on a bed, half fell off and found a new dread—its own erstwhile self; and so forged itself a new name from the carnage. Did it heal itself thereby? We do not know. [Tell us. Please, tell us, we need to know this.] And then there is the riven country left panting on the crumpled mattress staring dizzily at the square edges of the ceiling, wondering as it clutches its aching back and gropes for the light switch, with History, ours and othersâ€, buzzing questions into its head: Who am I Why was I born? What am I meant to be, do with the life I was given? What When Where Why How shall I mend when I don’t know what I look like unbroken? Can it / we heal itself / oursel(f/ves) thereby? We do not know. [Tell us. Please, tell us, we need to know this.]

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Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, a teacher of French as a foreign language and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in The Mojave Heart Review, Third Wednesday, Brine, and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her. Twitter: @hibahshabkhez