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Poem: How To Mend Things

Hadiyyah Kuma

Part of the "What does being Muslim Indo-Caribbean mean to you?" Series

How To Mend Things

With morning prayers and prayers again in the night

With alarm clocks that play only music, no beeping

With satin pillows so curly hair doesn’t frizz and you

Can claim: Mother look, I am beautiful as well as neat

There is no counterfeit look that can level me

With Astaghfirullah

With soap and water

With soft rope and wrists that need to be redeemed

As good as right-side angels before bed

Without playing the knife game and scratching up

The table so nobody beats you with the back

Of a metal spoon

Touch my sonic pre-crisis

Inject our history into your future

Touch my spine and see how it wanders toward home

Take tape to my brothers’ pride and renovate

Their shoulders into vulnerable timepieces

Take bandages to my sisters’ mouths

Stop the beatings

Stop the bruising

The chatter, stop it

Pillow talk with Western media and bribe

It to reframe you

It’s not legacy that defines you but time so

Never beg

Share the heavy with me, share the passion

Share the danger, share the almost-deaths

And blue-tinted overnight recoveries

Share the cousins, share the aunties

And their good news

Asana? Roti came out perfect and flakey

Margaret? Got fake Gucci for Christmas

And it looks real enough that there’s

no metaphor available to describe

the feeling of new

Share the shoes, share one sleeve of my jacket

Combine with me

Hoard prayers again in the night

Needles and thread and prayers

With bare hands on bare hands on her barer ones

Realize there’s nothing more you can do alone

Turn your hands off

Pocket them and wait for me,

Remember even in the west I am

Always dancing to you, eyelashes batting

Battling myself out of cages

Downing sand to make a path for you

To get there, always now, always

I am exactly two stations away

Post-crisis managing

My prayers again in the night

When prayer is about healing. The multitude of experiences I have within my family have called upon prayer as a form of management and processing. Outside of family, I can never find anyone who has truly understand this. Praying for each other, whether it be through supplications or simple thoughts, is like an invisible language we share.

Hadiyyah Kuma is a 20-year-old Indo-Guyanese writer and sociology student from Toronto. Her work seeks to examine rest and pleasure under capitalism, gentrification, platonic intimacy, and anxiety. Her poems, essays, and fiction have been published in places like The Rumpus, Yes Poetry, The Hart House Review, and GUTS magazine. Her debut chapbook, ‘tired, but not spectacularly,’ was released in 2019 by the Soapbox Press.

The views in this article reflect the lived experiences and positionality of this author based on the intersections of what being both Muslim and Indo-Caribbean means to them.


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