Sabah Carrim (Western Voices 2022)

Bio: Sabah Carrim has authored two novels, Humeirah and Semi-Apes, both set in Mauritius where she was born. Her stories have been shortlisted in various international competitions such as the Bristol Short Story Prize, AfroYoung Adult Competition, Not-So-Normal-Narrators Contest, Gabriele Rico Challenge for Creative Nonfiction and the Afritondo Short Story Prize. She has lived, studied and worked in Malaysia for 15 years and holds a PhD in Genocide Studies with a focus on the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. Sabah is currently recipient of the W. Morgan and Lou Claire Rose Fellowship for a MFA in Creative Writing in Texas State University.

Noises of death

The peeling, the clanking

of onions and dishes

from the kitchen

across the door

Noises that don't make sense


Noises of death

These movements that work

towards a process

Ingesting, digesting, egesting

Starting all over again


Noises of death

This peeling, clanking

regardless of us

sitting together, recognising death


We too were once

chunks of a process

Alive, so alive, and now so dead


Ad Nauseam

sharing stories, telling Our Story

No, retelling it in similar ways

adding the everyday;

opening up, censoring

choosing this time around to be strategic

for aren’t we cursed

with the faculty of remembering


slaves to thoughts, reactions


the voice within

whimsical in both: loving more, loving less;

loving, and not-loving


Rubbing off each other

adopting new imprints, facial expressions,

gestures, habits, and mannerisms;

not to forget colloquialisms,

interjections, and figures of speech;

A reminder that we’re really just mimics.


We end on a common note: We learned

We grew

We’ll grow to be careful

Tfeh. Those clichés


Will we?


Or did

we use, were used;

hurt, were hurt


For one always knows it sooner than the other


And if we learned, shouldn’t we always thank the teacher?


Memories, even the good, now wrapped—suffocating—

in a cling film

of pain


We’re vulnerable—we’ll make the

same mistake


in the end



the imprints of facial expressions,

gestures, and mannerisms, colloquialisms,

interjections, and figures of speech; the totality

of those who rubbed off on us;

joined the path for a month or two

or even longer


and still

said Goodbye


but more obviously: Sorry


like they—we—all do

(the sole thing we really learned)



& when you sat in that hospital bed with curtains shielding your shame, coarse staples crossing skin, dug in-to you—now a space of butchery—& I stood watching the nurse plucking them out one by one, de-thorning you; you hissing, annoying the rest of the ward, I wondered whether you realised how life would change after this; you blaming science & us for the evil befallen upon you, buying into conspiracy theories; a government ploy, you said, to get rid of you; denouncing us for what we did, forcing you to sign consent forms of the informed, just to save you from you. I wondered whether you realised that day, how living without a breast would make you feel lesser; that the presence of a doctor wouldn’t mean he’d restitute you to you; that you’d come out of this scarred, & start hiding from me, your daughter, rushing to cover yourself when I’d walk in on you. I wonder whether I realised then that you’d slowly disintegrate, be a space of butchery where we’d be coarse staples, desperate to hold you & parts of you in one piece.


No comments :

Post a Comment

We welcome your comments related to the article and the topic being discussed. We expect the comments to be courteous, and respectful of the author and other commenters. Setu reserves the right to moderate, remove or reject comments that contain foul language, insult, hatred, personal information or indicate bad intention. The views expressed in comments reflect those of the commenter, not the official views of the Setu editorial board. प्रकाशित रचना से सम्बंधित शालीन सम्वाद का स्वागत है।