By Yasmine S Choudry

Workshop writing inspired by excerpts from a play by Palestinian playwright Hannah Kahlil:
 
The embers glow fiercely. I look up at the night sky fractured through the gnarled branches of the
tree canopy. My daughter is restless beside me, turning, pulling her blanket. Now she knows the
discomfort of this adventure. I cover her with our blanket, change my mind and lift her, bringing her
to our bed. Whatever warmth I can give, I will give. The cold steals upon us and I cannot close my
eyes. I am waiting. Waiting for dawn. The embers crack and shift in the crucible we have made.
And I walked into the kitchen and that’s where I saw it.
And I walked into the kitchen and that’s where I saw it. Standing in the darkened corner of the room
like a sentry unwillingly relieved from duty. The padded mossy green velvet seat now worn.
Sheeshum wood legs carved with spindrells and curlicues stretching to an elegant, balled foot. 
Majestic arms just right for holding court or balancing a cup of tea. Here is stands with what fate
before it? It has travelled thousands of miles from the heat and sawdust of a workshop in Lahore. It
has been massaged with beeswax by appreciative hands for nearly fifty years and yet here it stands
in some kind of ignominy. He loved it. It was the throne from which he polished wise words, issued
dictates, laughed, admonished, shed tears, bounced grandchildren. And from where the last
incantation left his lips as he sat looking out, not onto the tall sugar cane and date palms of his youth
but at a robin, balancing in the winter-stripped branch of the apple tree.