Yuvoice

Black and white photo of an old exhausted woman using a sewing machine
Fiction

Egyptian Woman

Country of Origin: Egypt

Sentinel Duet: Read an account from the same writer here discussing being a mother to her beloved kids while coping with depression.

I am an Egyptian woman

I mean,

I am an exhausted woman

I spend my night in enjoyment till the morning

watching fantasy movies that I do not afford living

and my day passes through many ordinary tasks

that no one counts.

For instance, today,

was too short to give it a name

I cooked Green soup and rice for the hungry kids

who come home from the mangler

I waited for their little mouths to finish chewing,

I prepared to go out,

not for pleasure of course!

however, I wore some red lipstick,

to distract myself from the burdensome doctor’s visit.

I swallow cars’ smoke every bit of the way, 

thinking:

Do my kids breathe all that genuine Egyptian momentum?

Do they taste that air saturated with sweat, rage and poverty?

Do they swallow that?

Does my old childhood album hold anything more than

Hours spent in public buses and microbuses,

breathing boredom,

tiredness

and smoke? Couldn’t it be 

the smoke of something burnt, someone burnt?

My kids play in the hospital.

In the physician’s clinic, they jump on the sick bed and grant it life.

In the pharmacy too,

they smile while circling their pink balloon

and I,

like any genuine Egyptian mother

swallow people’s looks at them

and throw out orders for my kids to stop living

so that others be happy

whereas my kids are defeated.

Problems lie in knowledge.

A friend once told me that and I did not understand him.

Sometimes man’s knowledge hurts him more than his ignorance,

I know that they have a right

and that I have a right

and that birds should keep flying most of their lives

but when mosquitoes’ bites hurt me,

I banish the birds, inadvertently.

My two birds have slept by now.

They took their medications, in their specific dozes,

those that I recorded

at certain times.

they drank milk just like two playful kittens

now, they want to play a little

or maybe a lot

but it is time for the sleeping train, my dear.

Ended their day quickly

and started my nighty day,

everyday. I prepared 

sandwiches, two fruit slices

and some vegetables that they will not eat anyways.

I filled their bottles with love and water

I put some prayers in their bags

and I hid some apologies for my many orders

in the kitchen sink.

I ironed their clothes

that will never stay the same

everyday, my son lies down on the ground after wearing his clothes

my daughter sits to play and draw.

That does not infuriate me anymore

my heart smiles for them only while they are asleep,

like every Egyptian mother!

My heart tries to smile at myself too

some kindness tries to touch my angry soul

and closes her eyes

she says, Hold your thread and create a life,

exchange your angry heart for a young child’s heart,

rock it softly to sleep

now open your eyes again

you are just an exhausted woman.


Thank you to Amber Harris for their inspired edit on this piece and everyone else on the Fiction team.

If you are interested in submitting a piece to the DG Sentinel, please visit our submissions page here.

Rania is a poet, translator and a mom. She loves writing in Arabic and English. She loves learning new languages. She writes Arabic poetry and translates literature and other stuff.

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