Ghazal for Staying Safe
By Munira Tabassum Ahmed
which is to say we prosper until we are not safe,
all of this, worth it even when we are not safe.
I ask where you are going, what roads bend aside
for this worn body; you say “where we are not safe.”
the future looks so familiar against your skin, it seeks
comfort nestled in the moonlight of this shot, safe.
I brace for the bullet when you tell me that
the past is closer than the future, yet still not safe.
I forget how to translate words back to you,
like a promise, like a threat, I forgot ‘safe’.
instead I say “it is easy to love the thing that
returns home, staying, staying”, not safe.
but good things don’t stay, don’t return: they make
new homes, rapidly built and wrought safe.
the world is over when anyone dies young, but I
remember why we remain, burning, not safe—
munira, someday you will love until you are free,
a martyr for all the things you could not save.