Listen to Abdulsalam A. Sh. read “What If”
What if all the colours were red
all the walls were broken
and all the words were spoken
long before we were dead.
What if all the tears were made of stars
all the bodies were made of glass
and all the faces were made of mirrors
that reflect our scars.
What if we lived in a place
where there’s no first or second class
where freedom doesn’t mean hatred
where fear is the only thing crucified
where dignity is sacred
and oppression is not justified.
What if all the lands were free and vast
all the wounds were rivers
flowing from the past
all the eyes were pure as the sky
all the fists were flying up high
all the screams were heard
and all the shackles were burned.
What if all the hearts were bonded together
what if they could beat and sing and weep together.
What if living was not just the opposite of death
and one’s silence was not another one’s last breath
What if we all belonged to the same womb
and shared the same bed,
the same name,
the same tomb.
What if our shoes were theirs
and their roads were ours
What if we all stood naked
on the shoreline of humanity
and beheld the beauty of our differentiality.
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.