Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

Palestinian youth tell the human stories behind the numbers in the news

I try to kill my pain

Basman Derawi | 24-09-2017

 

Hussein Derawi, who died of leukemia when I was 3 years old

At night, an aching absence awakens me.
That burning won’t leave me alone.
I hear you were a lovely man,
kind, brave and generous—
like a hero in a novel.

I try to smell the ink
of your writing on an old letter.
I touch your photo,
then brush away a tear
with my shirt tail,
so it won’t ruin your face.

I look in the mirror
and see traces of you:
the same small, dark eyes,
the round face, the broad smile.

It burns that I never knew
the smell of your warm skin.
It burns that I never called you “Dad.”

I missed the warmth of your hand
gripping mine on my walk to school,
and your proud smile on graduation day.

Life is a hard journey.
Obstacles lie across the road
when your hand and smile
are not with me.

I try to kill my pain with sleep,
but that burning awakens me again
and again.

Posted: September 24, 2017

Mentor: Kevin Hadduck


Get updates to your inbox. Sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter.