I wrap my baby
in a large pink shawl
The light fringes brush
against her cheek
as she sighs soundly.

Eyes shut tight
against the darkness of the world.

A new dress
on this eve of ‘Eid
is laid out for her to wear.
Red and blue flowers.
Golden hued slippers.

(she sighs again)

And my throat tightens.
And my fingers grip the crib’s edge.
And a pain clenches my heart,
beating, beating, beating.

Because you are not wrapping your baby tonight.

And they will tell you:
“It happened on the best of days.”
“The holiest of days.”

And this is true.

But I wish for you,
I had the power to take it back.

A million Hajjis cried on the mountain today.
Begging for forgiveness.
For freedom from the hellfire.
For loved ones lost.
For happiness.

The tears of a million Hajjis
can barely equal that moment.
That moment your soul split.
Beseeching, begging. Begging.

(for it not to be true)

While you screamed wordlessly at the sky.

Subhan’Allah, that moment.
That crystal moment.
The very second you sensed
something was wrong.
Your heart shattered.

Like Hagar you ran.
You ran because you both had hope.
Desperately. Desperately. Desperate.
Pleading with every ember,
with the Rahma only a mother could possess.

You ran.

But unlike Hagar
there is no cooling water for you.
Not here.
Not yet.

But Allah is carrying you.
He has to be.
Because He is carrying your baby now.
And He is closest to us
on this day.

We come from God.
We go back to God.

So I plead with Allah
to cool your eyes
to soothe your heart
to repair your soul.

(to hold your life)

And to be with you
on the day you commit him to the ground.
To accept your prayers.
To give you cool water.

When you wrap your baby for the last time.

So exalted is He in whose hand is the realm of all things, and to Him you will be returned. [36:83]