the greatest love story ever told

by Aqeela Naqvi

Speak to me of the greatest love story ever told

Of a woman—
the daughter of the most noble man and the woman who was his heart
the one who all pursued, but none could match the brilliance of her mind
the one whose beauty was her character and whose elegance was her words
the one who shone, setting the sun to shame, an arresting glimmer of light

Of a man—
the son of the most loyal protector and the woman who entered the palace
the one who tyrants challenged, but none could match the lion’s roar in battle
the one who the poor awaited in the dark, food delivered by a hidden stranger
the one who in prostration, reached elevation, a humble peak of eloquence

Of a day—
a knock sounded on a door and a father opened it with a smile,
and a mouth was silent, but eyes yearned for his blessing,
and a question was asked, and a silent heart rejoiced,
and there lingered a fragrance of heavenly roses

Of a union—
souls, speaking another’s name before they even knew their own
hearts, composing symphonies of rhythms rhythm itself does not know
hands, of time clapping for ‘til now it did not know what it means to love
the murmur of the tide upon finally reaching the shore

Of a legacy—
her spreading of the message of truth, his voice of justice through the land
her stand taken to claim her inheritance, his fall taken to safeguard unity
her branches reaching out: eleven suns, his roots: strengthening the tree
their continual sacrifice for the beggar, the prisoner, the orphan

Of a tragedy—
a pack of wolves with teeth bared sets the door to the house on fire
a wife with ribs crushed, caught behind the door, calls out his name
a husband heart shattered, left witness to watch, calls out her name
grief falling on the brightest of days turns it into the darkest of nights

Of a burial—
the night is empty and devoid of stars on whom sorrow has cast a shadow
the funeral is empty except for one man, come to bid farewell to his heart
the noise is empty save for the weeping upon seeing her bruises
the tongue is empty for it has no more use for conversation

Speak to me,
says a woman as she watches her heart lay his cheek upon the soil

Speak to me,
says a man as his tears seep into the soil separating him from his heart

Speak,
the woman(the man)

‘Ali, my heart, weep not, we shall meet again in another world
(Fatima, my flower, be at ease, we shall meet again in another world)

Until that day comes, in my memory now lingers your fragrance
(Until that day comes, in my mind now lingers your fragrance)

the fragrance of heavenly roses

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