Cold You Pull Over Here?
On my way to heaven, I want to make a pit stop first. I want to go home. I want to stand on the front steps. I want to close my eyes and feel the warm air of an October noon. I want to walk in to see my mother on the phone in the kitchen surrounded by an aroma of spice and flavor. I want to hear the distant clanking of my father in his office. I want to walk past my sister and her boyfriend on the couch, laughing so… peacefully, as if in that moment the world outside had finally taken a big, deep, blue breath, and exhaled its sweet, long-awaited apology.
I am here.
I imagine walking up the stairs, passing the books that are no longer there, the trophies that no
longer stand, and upon the carpet that hints at some mix of lavender and lemongrass. I go into my room. The lights are on; the music is playing.
I am here.
I want to turn off the lights, open the balcony door to hear the ceaseless,
swaying palm trees fight the soft world outside, and then let myself fall backwards. I’ll fall for miles and miles only to
be caught, so gently, by the smooth hands of the bed.
I am here. I am here.
And then I will sleep,
maybe for a long, long time.
And this time,
I swear to you
We will not be awoken by the shattered glass of their sirens, or the smell of lavender being
replaced by burning books, or the sight of our entire childhood being swallowed whole by the
same red earth that once raised it so peacefully.
For I am here,
and I will never leave you again.
Henna Ahmed is a nineteen-year-old Asian Indian poet currently studying psychological and brain sciences and English at the University of California Santa Barbara. She is in her second year in the English program and loves writing, poetry, and photography. In 2018, her childhood home burned down in the Woolsey Fires of Southern California. She writes about childhood, grief, and finding peace in the wake of such profound loss. She hopes to pursue higher education in the future and remain an advocate for mental health awareness.