“Atonement” by Ayesha F. Hamid

I searched her face for it,
in her eyes which had seen
a spectrum of scenes over years,
her brow which she could have bent,
signaling absolution, but she didn’t.

The last thing she gave was a reluctant smile,
so I thought maybe she’s coming round,
but before I could sit, listen
as she told me again to toughen up,
to always hold my head up high,
in this world of vultures, redemption, sin
before I could talk to her of mistakes
and regret, her soul fled.

She died at night, this woman
who could command the attention
of any room, she lay cowered,
alone on the ground, taking with her
any possibility of peace between us.


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