Scoundrel Time

Remember Our Names

Life is devoid of meaning
a philosopher once declared,
and what is life for
if my dreams are obliterated with my city
and children are dying.

A single, relentless shot,
and I become the next number
on the long death roll.
They’ll bury me without funeral words.
No tears will be shed over my grave,
no flowers will grace my name,
and they might misspell it
with no one to correct them.

Between life and death,
if I had been three steps later,
or if I had escaped one night later,
I would be dead, without friends,
to see the end of the war
and the withdrawal of weapons.
If a shell hit me,
no one would collect my broken body.
I’d lie beneath the rubble,
awaiting a passerby,
to hear my weeping soul.

My friend was trapped for three days
beneath the fallen walls.
No one heard him when he cried out.
No one heard his last breath, but it happened.
No one rescued him, but God intervened,
and he ascended to heaven.

My friend left on his desk,
one paper, one final poem.
In this poem he prayed to survive; 

he begged, but no one listened.
A number was inscribed on his coffin,
“Mahmoud is his name,” I shouted.
We were the same age and both dreamed
of white gulls flying above the rustling waves.

We were young, debating life’s meaning.
I think of the unwritten chapters of our stories.
Life is devoid of meaning, my friend once said.
We are the meaning, I declared,
while our laughter echoed.

When I depart, remember the blood red tulip.
My name is Haya, so carve it on my grave,
and do not misspell it.

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Haya Abu Nasser is a human rights activist and writer, originally from Deir-Sneid. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature and humanitarian sciences and works as a fundraising and partnership officer for Save Youth Future Society and other NGOs in Palestine. Haya’s mission is to advocate for the rights of youth and women, combatting discrimination, violence and economic inequality. She has had the honor of acting as keynote speaker at several international events, including the Exeter University Conference, the Islamic Malaysian Union, and the recent WD23 in Rwanda, where she passionately addressed topics related youth engagement in peacebuilding efforts, aligning with the principles of UN Resolutions 2250 and 1325. She is currently internally displaced within Gaza.

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Image By: Haya Abu Nasser