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The Throne

Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, University of Oxford and Refugee Hosts Writer in Residence

No one has ever seen the bereaved mother. They arrived at night bearing nothing but their cries.

The father, the son, the wheelchair…

In the picture, the order is merely an aesthetic thing. Or more precisely an echo of the bare survival of the extremities and the fall of the middle, the disabled middle, the son, who was brought from Aleppo to die in the camp.

(A fistful of absence suffices for the absent ones).

The father could not surrender the chair after surrendering the son to his death, but to ensure it stays in its place he tied it tightly to the window railing.

Like the Ayat al-Kursi (The Throne Verse) hung in my mother’s room, the chair appears suspended between what is yet to be inscribed in time and the chiasm, a tilting crucifix.

The chair.


Featured Image: The tightly tied wheelchair, Baddawi refugee camp, Lebanon. (c) E. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, December 2018

Read, and listen, to more poetry by Yousif by visiting our Creative Archive, or by visiting his contributor’s page here.


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