Outside our old apartment in Jeddah, 2012 – Prem Sylvester

All we wanted was a home.


My father sits in the driver’s seat,

unbent by desert winds.

He tucks oil-stained riyals into

his old wallet, its leather shorn of dignity.

Each note counts, he tells me.

These are our blessings.

Father’s voice has grown older— quieter—

since his will was broken under the sighing trees.

He didn’t take me along, didn’t want me to see –

The soundless fight still rattles in my ears.

My father sits in the driver’s seat,

and he smiles. Turns on the stereo.

We don’t speak of the sandstorms this foreign land

inflicts on us. It has bought our silence.


He has never cried with me. I wish he would.

Unburden us of a future he unmade himself for.


All we wanted was a home.

All we got was the husk of what was lost to us.

Prem Sylvester

Prem Sylvester

Prem Sylvester is a writer from India who turns into words the ideas he catches a whiff of from time to time. Sometimes people read these words. His work has appeared in Rising Phoenix Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Nightingale & Sparrow, Memoir Mixtapes, and Rigorous, among others.

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