the memory of a single thread by Hawa Y. Mire

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the memory of a single thread

I’m forgetting you even as I struggle to remember you. But life has become about the living. No one tells you that is what grief will slowly begin to fade into. After the hole and the terrible emptiness, you begin to fill the spaces with life and living. I’m not startled every time someone says my name, I can say she’s dead, and not hold tears to my chest like a bullseye.

What’s its like to die? I wish for one more conversation with you, a soft afternoon of sitting at your knee asking you the questions I felt too unsure to ask before. What was it like losing the love of your life? What was it like losing three children, a country and a war? What was it like to flee, to be a visitor to everyone else’s land? To have children all over the world who forgot you as soon as they were on a plane away from massacre. What was it like to love? To lose a love, to not want another? What are the things I don’t know?

Tell me everything in an afternoon of xalwo and shai. Tell me all the secrets you took with you to your grave. Tell me of your favorite child, tell me of my mother young and married, tell me of her mother, my other ayeeyo. Sing me a story your mother told you as a child. Sing me the stories you sang my father. Just sing to me and let me sit here a while breathing in the perfume you wear and the colors you are so proud to sew into skirts, the hair you faithfully dye red with henna to hide the silver and grey. Just let me sit here a while with you and hold your hands, rest my body against yours and remember what you look like. Just one afternoon together, soft and dreamy and warm again. Did I say life was for the living? You are still alive within me. Even as I forget I remember. Even as I forget, I remember.


Hawa Y. Mire

Hawa Y. Mire is a diasporic Somali storyteller, writer, and strategist who writes about Blackness, (dis)connection and (un)belonging. Her writing is seated somewhere between oral tradition and the written word, celestial and myth, past and present, ancestry and spirit. Every piece is in conversation with vivid landscapes laden with imagery that seek to evoke a particular line of inquiry. The hope is that for a few moments the reader cannot see where they begin or end, but engage with a path strewn with questions that lead the way back deeply into themselves. :