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Thursday, August 24, 2006


by Sadaf Qureshi

I like the way it works its way up into my mouth,
the way it sounds when it escapes
It starts out hard-headed and proud
But by the time you get to the third syllable it has lost its staccato,
Instead it flows like thick liquid,
as though it has slipped on the wet surface of my tongue,
and when you expect it to finish off staying down,
it gets back up and regains its composure- but with a lost severity.

There’s a picture in the paper today,
About the lives they led
And what that has all been reduced to- a muddle of paraphernalia scattered on a sidewalk,
About the living, breathing, feeling, human debris that
War has left in its path,
About animosity in action
Civilians collect their belongings from their shop
that was damaged by Israeli air strikes in southern Beirut, Lebanon
That is the picture in the paper today.
The picture has it looking as though
Animosity never had to wipe the dirt off a scraped knee,
Or bare a bruise on its shin
It looks at though it has never had that humbling and humiliating opportunity
To get up and recover from a miss because it never does miss
Never trips up
Never forgets to strike
It looks more unrelenting and nimble than it sounds.

Still, they say that looks can be deceiving
They never say anything about sounds

Born in Lousiana in 1990, Sadaf Qureshi is entering Junior year at Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, New Jersey.