A Poem by
Shafi A. Khaled
My Two Daughters are Gone
I had a daughter once, but I lost her 10 years ago
I lost another daughter, yet again, the other day
The first was in her prime, pretty and bold, with a mind of her own
This one, too, was adorable, solid in her faith, serious in disposition, loved and funny
What does a father do when such twin losses make their rounds?
Who does he turn to? Where does he hide?
What does he do with his tears and with his hair?
Oh, on which rock does he beat his brow? What misfortune must he curse?
Alas, yes, two daughters gone, fallen flowers both, nipped in the bud
My older daughter died crushed in front of some houses on a rocky tract of land she made her own
My younger daughter died surrounded by rocks on some street in a land she chose as her own
I ask why? Not why, as in why were they not a bit more careful.
My why screams at the perpetrators why they did what they did?
My daughters of innocence, and of resolve, taken away from me prematurely
But they were never mine, really, so I had to let go as their souls flew heavenward
I had Rachel Corrie once, my first born baby girl
Then it was Habiba Ahmed Abd ElAziz, not any less, my number two baby face
But I have another daughter, my last born girl, perky and progressive
She is Sumayyah bint Khayat ibn Muslim, a name she chose for herself, and I smiled
I am ready to submit her, too, to the front lines, if need be, for the next round
The end will begin where the start happened centuries ago, Ya Allah, Ya Allah!
Dr. Shafi A. Khaled is a freelance writer. He teaches and does research in Business & Economics.