The moment I heard the Imam christen my mother a name I’ve only read in books, I heard a sound synonymous to the creak of bones. I do not remember if a bone creaked, or if it was me, trancing; but I think I heard a sound like one of those from Bollywood action movies where the hero places the elbow of one of his threateners on his knee, picks two sledgehammers and halves the arm by dislocating the elbow joint with a bang.
That day, I felt a fox crawl out of me, wag its tail twice, and trudge to my room. I felt my spirit desert my body and follow it. In my room, I saw no fox but an assemblage of birds singing songs of silence; it seemed to me that the fox faded into the air like mothers’ smell. So, I placed my body on the sofa to mourn, touched my eyelids & an ocean spread its fingers across my face like my mother did the day I made her angry. I wrenched my fists as if wanting to wrestle with silence; then unfurled my palm again.
I yawned and a cartography of silence crawled out of my mouth. I stretched into a rectangular room, drew two diagonals with the thumbprints of the ocean that spread its fingers earlier, & drowned. I felt my body swim ashore, walk into mom’s room, pick her rosaries, go back to the rectangular room, place the rosaries at the point of intersection of the diagonals, pour ash on the rosaries till everywhere choked with remembrance, with grief, with darkness.
Since then, I sleep every night with a sting and her photograph latched to my chest like her body the day she grew cold.