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The Dead of December by Dania Siddiq

Art by Mikhail Vasilyevich Nesterov

The Dead of December

The sun has not risen

My father used to play qawwalis on his walkman when we could not sleep in our house made of dust

we had to gain weight so it would not fly away with the wind and now

we have collected so much

we are heaps of dust and we cannot go anywhere

there were all kinds of tales from a past we like to believe in the only time I believe in the existence of a past is when

it rings in my ears like a band of drums

awaiting a procession,

like the feet of men hungry for blood, marching

awaiting another victim,

like a chorus in a play, wailing

even before death has a chance to knock

past is like a memory of footsteps

you already know who is coming

one of the tales told of how eyes could not see the sun

before ears heard the call of prayer

on some mornings in the dead cold of December

the sun does not come at all and I keep thinking of this.

I say the prayer sometimes when I am desperate for the sun hoping it would come but it does not

I think of places where there are no loudspeakers to say the prayer out loud does the sun ever go there to see if someone is waiting

with beads in their hands,

their beads are stained with words that resemble prayers

and prayers that resemble the color of the blood.

sometimes they are forbidden to even see the blood that stains their prayers but their ears are filled with prayers at funerals.

I think of places where

voices that say The Prayer

shiver in a distance

from the coldness of hearts around them,

so much blood going cold

so cold

so cold

so cold

the voices whisper in a distance

the sun looks like a snake sneaking into heaven

shyly, quietly

but he finds himself in hell

the blood has turned into a sea

there is blood in our throats

like there is salt in the sea

eyes see only blood, a sunless sky

when the sun had set in the sea

I think it choked on all the blood and could not return

and when it would, it would tell of

the tales of all blood lost to the sea

My father is not around anymore

but those tales live in my head

and I say my prayers and wait for the sun

in the dead of December.

About the poet:

My name is Dania Siddiq. I am 22 and currently doing my Masters in English Literature. I have always thought that art and poetry have unfailingly proven to be ways to understand ourselves and the world around us, so I would consider myself very lucky if I could spend my life creating art in all its forms.

Instagram: @daniasiddiq_


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