Mosaic Heart

Fatima ShafiJanuary 10, 2023Dreams and DesiresPoetry

My mosaic heart they excavated

From under the ruins of Pompeii.

They fished it out of the murky sewer waters,

Dried it up and wiped it clean and put it on display.

People came from near and far

Clamoring, shoving through the crowds

To catch a glimpse of ruined art

A story of perilous destiny, unbound.

They ooh’ed and ah’ed in mystified delight

Entangled within the treacherous beauty

Of a heart ensnared in night,

Bound in chains so tight.

This vital organ that once pumped blood through and around

Now hung dead and depleted in the Louvre’s gargantuan halls

A fragmented mosaic of "what if’s" and "maybe’s"

That miraculously still stuck strong.

Then stood an elder from amongst the crowds

Wizened, wrinkled, old

His aura commanded respect just as well as if

He’d been clad in gold.

"Listen closely to the story of this scarred and shattered heart

It beat once in the chest of my fiery-eyed granddaughter

Until they tore it out, cleaved it apart

Without a hammer, or a saw, or a falter.

Locked her away, they did, within Rapunzel’s tower

A dark and dank place where she willed away the hours

In books and inside her head - both frightening places,

Haunted by ghosts of the dead.

Dead desires and dreams, dead passions and pursuits

Corpses that had long since withered away

And become one with the air and the soot.

There they locked my fiery-eyed, my rebel, my pride.

Said, 'Lather on these creams

And ointments and fine clothes

And be one of us! God won’t take note

If you take off your hijab just for one photo.

Forget your dreams of science and saving lives

Ensure your marriage first. You must first be a wife,

Then a martyr of a mother,

You owe us that right.'"

The elder concluded his tale

Surrounded by eyes widened in shock and mouths agape,

"So she sat, surrounded by the ghosts of her dreams and desires,

Hands bound, feet chained, fissure-cracks through her heart."

Fatima Shafi is a 16-year-old student at Lahore Grammar School, Defense. Fatima spends more time with people in books than in real life, and is obsessed with Marvel, Star Wars, Disney, Taylor Swift, and tea.