Silent Voice of Regret

Fatima Ahmad Usman

By Fatima Ahmad Usman

You are a lonely street at night holding death beneath the cover of black silence. Regret speaks not too loudly – indistinct her voice, still, she speaks. Remember when Halima told you “as a girl, To ply a lonely street at night is to place death at the entrance of your hollowed self. To place fire between your thighs and think it won’t burn.” But you did not see. You did not see regret speak within the corners of her eyes, gathering like swollen magma, waiting to spurt off the unsettling cliff of her lids.

Or did regret not speak again, when mama shuddered at papa’s extended arm? What will make a woman squint at the sight of seeming love if not regret? That women are flowers, plucked for their beauty or that they are raw gold, mined by men and melted by pangs into desired shapes. What about Zainab – folding tight the gap between her thighs against any man to make up for the sins of her brother?

And here you are again – regret speaking – a bland apparition of Halima and Mama and Zainab, a lonely street at night holding death beneath the cover of black silence – shattered, closing your ears against shrieks of women piercing night with requiems. You bury yourself in shallow earth like a trudged down plant; stem first, then shoot, then root – split into broken halves, letting her speak in the silence of your sobs, in the phlegm lodged in the depth of your nostrils.

Memories do little to stop regret from speaking, yet you remember. And she speaks. You remember. And she speaks. You remember again. And she speaks, until her gauzy voice pierces through the silence and she is heard. Only by then, YOU ARE DEAD.

Fatima Ahmad Usman is a thespian and also a poetry enthusiast, keen on expressing trapped emotions through art with the hope that these emotions are relatable by others and thus contributing to society. She has been published and interviewed by the Daily Trust newspapers for her contributions towards art.