Against Death

After my best friend died I became jealous of the fireflies and kept smashing them against my forehead. I wanted my loneliness to be visible to those I loved. For people to see the yellow balloons I hid in my lungs. What I’m saying is I couldn’t breathe for an entire year. When they tore down her elementary school, we all lined up, days later, for bricks. We held them against our bodies. I’d like to think this is how we embrace our ghosts. Years later, it took my grandfather three days to die. I grew so bored I left to get ice cream. In the car, with the July sun soaking my back, I let my tongue protest death. Hours after my grandfather died, I wanted to take a photo of his body. His skin the color of faded marigolds. As a child, when my goldfish died I mourned the entire ocean. My father told me children in Palestine die every day. Hours before dying from cancer, Jim said take care of yourself. I said you too. When I visit graveyards now, all I see is grass and grass and grass. I think about how it takes forever to get to nowhere. Maybe I’ve outlived my life. And would like to become a bird. Dear God. Dear Earth. Dear Clouds. Why should anything die? I want it all to live forever. What I mean is I want to stand in my garden and gaze at the sunflowers. Amen.

— Noor Hindi (from TriQuarterly)