Listen to Abdulsalam A. Sh. read “Everything Changes”
The taste of the night breeze
The shape of the stars
and their chaotic locations across the sky.
The pain changes, too.
It moves from the top right of the heart,
down to the bottom left of the stomach.
The sound of despair and worry in the air,
The unknown you always fear,
The laughter you never cherished,
The smell of your favorite place
and the sinking ship of memories.
Every step you take towards
your ever-changing dream.
Every poem you start writing,
Every door you knock or have knocked.
Every window you ever gazed out
through its mirrorless glass, changes.
If you open the same door again and again
you’ll end up somewhere else, somewhere foreign.
If you look outside again and again
you’ll see how everything changes
Like the trees you say good morning to
The sea you seek refuge to
and the shore sand you secretly
bury your doubts into.
And just like everything else
I remember that I change, too.
The wrinkles on my face
The lines of my palms
The strength of my shoulders
And the length of my breath.
Every time I hear a new birdsong,
Everytime I write a new poem
Every time I dig deeper inside of myself.
Every time I see a new picture
of the never-changing nature of humanity.
And I wonder, will this ever change?
Abdulsalam is a Syrian poet and a freelance photographer living in Malaysia since 2013. Last year, he won Second Prize in the Migrant and Refugee Poetry Competition held annually in Kuala Lumpur. He has performed his poems in the Georgetown Literary Festival, Ilham Gallery, and Refugee Festival among other places. His poetry explores topics like exile, homeland, identity, the uncertainty of the future, his relationship with the past, and sometimes, love.