6:07PM, 04/08/2021

Joyce Al Hayek

Although a year has passed since the blast took place,
its memory is alive and well in my mind.

Alive and well,
is more than I could say for us.

The minute of silence is one of respect,
Of us pausing our lives,
our thoughts,
and dedicating a moment to those who have lost them all.

Instinctually, my head bows down,
and my eyelids close shut.
A prayer escapes my thoughts,
or a poem, I’m not really sure.

As I stand here for the one-minute-long silence,
I am very aware that it took less than that for Beirut to be wiped away.
A few seconds was all it took
for the wave of destruction to reach the ends of the city.

The blast robbed Beirut of what makes it home.
It almost feels intentional,
the way it picked and chose my favorite moments,
the way I select candy bars in my village’s دكانة

It desired my favorite mustard yellow-walled building,
robbed the streets of the smoky smell of Sunday مشاوي,
Destroying the most creatively spray-painted and bullet-ridden cement wall –
do you recognize that one? The one that catches your attention for its boldness rather than its beauty?

The wave left me behind,
Standing on the highway, jealous of the rubbles that made the cut.
I feel too much pain to have been left this unharmed,
A piece of my soul died, yet my body stayed intact…

…Desiring the fate of the pavement in Gemmayze.
I was left behind, resentful of my cancelled plans,
Bitter towards my so-called luck,
envying the dead.