the towers fell
more than a decade ago;
I was in sixth grade
and at the time
I didn’t have enough faith
in any god above.
but the anger was real—
I tasted it for the first time
then: it was rust and salt,
the tears of my father’s sisters,
my mother’s ever-clenching fist.
I wrote an angry letter,
said this is not Islam
and you are not a Muslim
even though I was too young
to say things like that
and probably because
I wasn’t as awake as I am now.
these days my people
are becoming the face
of a movement
they never were a part of
in the beginning.
daesh clamor for holy war:
media drinks them down
like oasis water and
cutting off the mics
when we talk back;
we couldn’t reach anyone for comments
as if we’re invisible and
voiceless when you shut us down
as soon as we speak up.
I have never made dua in my life
but this is me putting my hands together.
I’m not just praying for myself
or for my family. I’m praying for you
to sit back and listen: there’s a symphony
going on, you know. It’s not a rock concert
but the energy’s the same, it’s a harmony
of voices; they sound like songbirds,
have you noticed? A rising aria of
salam, salam, salam and as-salamu alaykum;
peace, peace, peace; peace be upon you.
By Saquina Karla C. Guiam
Saquina Karla C. Guiam is a writer from General Santos City, Philippines. Her work has appeared on Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Djed Press, Outlook Springs, The Maine Review, and others. She is the Roots nonfiction editor of Rambutan Literary and the Social Media Manager of Umbel & Panicle, a new literary magazine about all things botanical.