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If you delete the last text they send you

Without ever opening it 

You can believe 

You made them up in your head. 

If you decide that the doorbell is broken 

And refuse to get another 

You will not know that nobody 

Has been ringing it for a while. 

If you put enough family pictures 

On all the wallowing white walls 

You can convince yourself 

That you don't come home to an empty house.

If you go back to your life 


After every prayer 

You will know why God stopped listening. 

If you say someone’s name 

Too many times 

You can forget 

That they’re not here.

The Terror of Small Things

They won’t come near you.

All the small and slimy things

Are more afraid of you 

Than you are of them,

They said.

Look, how the roaches scuttle into darkness

To escape the threat of shadows

The spiders detangle from their webs

And the lizards crawl back into the highest shelves.

Child, look, how small in front of you.

Small, meaning harmless

Meaning they will die easy

Meaning they will perish without turning 

Your memory into a crime scene.

We learn to live with the small things

Because we can kill them anytime.

And nothing 

Prepares us for the terror 

Of a small thing 

Staring back.

Zainab Wahab is pursuing her Masters in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She writes poetry and enjoys baking for family and friends.

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