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

associations

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

 

We

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

Adieu

but more obviously: Sorry

 

like they—we—all do

(the sole thing we really learned)

***


Mother 

& 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.

 

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