Messenger of the soul’s throne do you
remember? The day the heavens
exploded? Do you still see it as clearly
as I do? How there was so much light,
how tremendously the earth shook,
how there was so much noise and yet
somehow no sound? You were there
with me. You had my hand in yours.
Together we watched as the pillars fell
from the sky. The idol faces judged us
until the end, united in their censure.

The stars rained across their marbled
cheeks like tears as they crumbled to
nothingness. You told me that you
were there for me. You said that there
was no need to worry. You said there
was nothing to fear. There was no
need to cry because you were with me.
But they were lies. In the palm of my
hand the gravity of your desperation
quaked against me. Though you stood
unrelenting, your mighty eyes
fulminating against the enemy, you
were as small as I.
Our hearts and souls burst to pieces
staining our faces with sooty refuse.

They ripped apart into ditches and
fissured open into cliffs beneath our
feet bleeding out our happiness until
we ran dry. The barriers of our spirits
so erect, so aged, so wise, so strong
began to bend by their will, snapping
our rooted trunks. The branches of our
life’s symphony knelt before them until
they surrendered at their feet. They
took a step and we felt tired. They
squeezed our lungs free of life and
filled us with a noxious miasma of
despondency. I was destroyed. I
desired to fall to my knees under the
weight of devastation. My alacritous
prayers spilled from my eyes as I
watched the heavens open before us.

The savage clouds mushroomed into
themselves and hemorrhaged
unspeakable hues of fiery crimsons,
blinding whites, scorching oranges,
smoldering blues, and intolerant blacks
and grays. The paean of Azrael,
Michael, and Sandalphon melted to
antagonizing shrieks as destruction
enervated their canon. The nebulous
distinction of life and the hereafter was
no more.

Do you remember? How you pulled me
up by your hand and bestowed me
with salvation? Your hope was
audacious, your faith austere, your
resolution axiomatic. Your will haloed
through me. You ushered me from my
limitations and provoked something
within me I had nearly forgotten-the
need to endure. I broke free from my
shackles of doubt and followed your
lead. I surrendered myself to you. I
sacrificed my very being blindly unto
you without reserve. We bounded over
great lengths. We cleared distances we
never dreamed of traversing. But no
matter our speed our escape seemed
futile. They would obliterate everything
until we stood for nothing. Their
callous tentacles stretched over our
heads. The sound of gears rattled and
cranked into a discordant harmony
that grated across our teeth.

demoralizing, alloy-plated boots
plummeted deep into our foundations.
In their wake they soiled us with their
gluttonous, perfidious truth.
With eyes astute as an owl’s gaze and
hunger voracious as a vulture’s
appetite their barrels coiled within their
bellies. And regurgitated their theories
hot as hell’s fury into the skies. Hearing
our feeble steps they snaked their
necks around themselves.

Their rotary
joints hummed with ease as they
contorted their heads into unspeakable
positions. They rose up like cobras,
flattening their necks and flashing their
hoods of sporadic light. Beams of
cobalt blue zigzagged over our bodies
scanning our forms from tip to toe.
Something erupted in our chests,
something that sparked at our
fingertips and pulsated through us into
one. I believe they felt it before we did.
I believe they understood what we had
become before we existed. The
nascent creed burned our flesh. You
pushed me from their line of fire as
their horns hissed vehemently.

barrels cocked as they readied to aim
their irascible invective. You didn’t
waver. Your strength, an
insurmountable Everest, poured
through your flesh and made you
stone. Unlike them you didn’t stand to
rebuke. You held out your arms to
It could have been my mind’s eye or
the barrage of lights at my retina but
what I saw I will never forget.
Encompassing your corporeal frame a
golden light pulsated with the steady
rhythm of your beating heart.

genial vibrations that cradled my
childish deficiencies, the exact
salubrious vibrations that washed over
me countless times, ruptured the
empty space about us. Like the regal
wings of Horus it spread. Its calidity
dried away the trepidations that
cascaded down my cheeks. Your
words, hymns of old, spilled from your
lips. In the name of forgiveness you
spoke and with the touch of your hand
upon their frigid shell the weight of
your magnanimity washed over them.
Their apparatuses rusted. Their joints
locked. Their spindles broke. From
underneath, their power fell away and
they collided back to their rightful rung.
Hollow cries blared from the
trumpeted mouths of their brethren.

The seed of retribution blossomed in
our wake. From all around they
slithered their retractable necks and
blanketed us in their unnatural lights. I
precipitated myself to your side. As if I
could stymie any harm that would
befall unto you, I cast myself upon you,
encircling you with my body. Their
truculent barrels fired. Our ears rang
from the dissonant roar. All at once
your amber brilliance domed over us.
From a single touch my skin began to
prickle. I was engulfed in a tidal wave
of searing glory. The flame beneath my
skin blazed through my pores.

Like a
catalyst we combusted, synthesizing
into one. Your golden light burst into a
vague mist and our world eroded to
A rancid smog of carbon blistered
inside my lungs. Black powder, acrid
and thick, secreted down my throat. My
mouth ran dry like desert sand.
opened my eyes born anew. Beneath
my hand I felt your vitality rise and fall.

Amid the dust you lay. The effete
lament of the stars exhumed you from
your cavernous slumber. From your
chest I rose. We stood to our feet with
an infant’s grace. We were alone. My
ears felt as if they would burst from the
profound silence that lingered over us.
In the distance our enemies belted
savagely, too far to sully us.

Do you remember? How the moon
shone like the sun? Illuminating our
virginal haven in a tempest of blues
and grays, its proximity loomed before
us. As if it would splinter the earth itself
it claimed the horizon.

against Phoebe’s cries Atlas reached
out to cradle her. Tremendous tremors
convulsed all around. Tumbling,
stumbling, colliding about, we did our
best to keep our ground.

Mother Earth
broke apart unable to endure our
suffering. Father Sky thundered for her
agony. When the pain could no longer
be cried for, when the world had no
more tears to shed, it all ceased to
harrowing tranquility. Before our eyes
the universe spelled our fate.

scales had been tipped. Lines had
been crossed. Our axis was askew,
dipping low into dark abyss.
Mountains became hills. Valleys
became deserts. Streams ran to rivers,
thick with the garnet oils of us all.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why
so disturbed within me?” I cried. There
was no hope. There was no faith. To
go on while forsaken… such madness
in reverie.

You were the first to venture out into
their world. You were the first to peer
into their canted skies. Perhaps you
saw something I did not.

Perhaps you
heard when I wished not to hear. Your
clothes lethargic and worn hung on
your shoulders set strong. “Because he
loves me, I will rescue him.”

Your voice
came rhythmic. Your voice came
unyielding. “I will protect him, for he
acknowledges my name.” Your words
washed over me. They whispered to
my irresolution. “He will call on me,
and I will answer him.” My heart rattled
in its cage, turning violently. “I will be
with him in trouble, I will deliver him
and honor him.” Though my eyes
burned the tears did not come. “With
long life I will satisfy him and show him
my salvation.” With your final word you
turned to me. Your eyes held love like
they always had. Your movement was
grace in the most forbearing of ways.

In a single motion you freed me from
my intrinsic condemnation. To your
side I stood basking in your conviction.

I took your hand there and then. Your
fingers knotted with mine… you were
with me. Do you remember?

© Aisha Salim.

courtesy of Storyzetu

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