A Story

Some will call the suicide bomber
a coward but seeing him
 
you think only, Hungry,
stumbling as he is toward you,
 
to the tent where pilgrims
stop to eat and drink.
 
Behind you a woman in a black robe
scoops rice with her fingers.
 
Beside her a girl, restless, runs out
onto the dusty two-lane road
 
that the bomber now crosses.
This is happening
 
at the end
of forty days of mourning,
 
the anniversary a martyrdom.
The girl returns breathless
 
and the mother gives her
a glass of clean water.
 
You watch the ripple down
her throat, and out of sunlight
 
the man approaches—
his eyes, like yours, are brown.
 
Now you hear someone say, Sit, sit.
It is the mother talking to the daughter.
 
And now someone is shouting,
and now there is the terrible noise.
 
Every person is a story.
You are the man who walked out
 
as he walked in, the bomb went off,
and you lived to tell.

Hayan Charara, "A Story" from Something Sinister.  Copyright © 2016 by Hayan Charara.  Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Source: Something Sinister (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016)
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