I am the son of a mother who loves me.
I am the son of a mother with a smoldering gaze, bloodied lips, and blackened eyes.
I am the son of a mother fallen victim to a cancer of her own womb and botched Western amputation.
I am the son of a mother who fights tooth and nail for every stone and every street, buying her children precious seconds to run from an embrace of walls once warm with love, now slick with blood.
I am the son of a mother whose corpse is destined to rot in the open air, for no coffin, no grave could ever hold that gorgeous spirit.
I am the son of a mother whose smiling face was once the first to greet the rising sun.
I am the son of the Levant, and if her crumbling walls had the strength to speak, I’d pray that they might tell me where to go next.
I am the son of a dying woman, and it’s all my siblings and I can do to stop our tears from flooding her alleys and her homes.
I was the son of a mother who loved me, and I believed in her and her love.
Now I am one of millions of orphans, and I believe in so very little.
I am cursed to steal a few more undeserving breaths from this world before I leave,
But until I take that final breath, I will be haunted by the thought that I could’ve been-
That I should’ve been a better son.
By Mohamad Jaouhar
Mohamad Jaouhar is a business student at the American University of Beirut, passionate about modern history, political theory, and fitness. He spends his time thinking up the next poem to leave half-finished, skimming through philosophy books, or at the gym.