the house

a poem by furqan mohamed
art by raviya

they say when a system fails,
it’s as if there are termites in a house
eating away at it
destroying the foundation, the walls
creeping up the staircases and the halls
until, not long
everything is inhabitable

a house serves as a neat metaphor
for systems of power that often fail and crumble
for reasons undisclosed by …

well, let’s call them the butlers

or better yet
the upholders

the ones who uphold the pillars of supremacy and oppression that’s vile
all the while having a smile
motioning us to a welcome mat stitched and fixed with the skin of our ancestors

so pardon me for thinking the problems of this house go way beyond termites

there’s poor lighting in this house,
too dark for anything to grow except resentment
nothing good ever is created in this house, the foods all bland and filled with empty promises
i can taste it

the attic is filled with secrets, and more termites
the cupboards ever so full, drowning whoever dares to open them with its contents, so we shut them
allowing them to become someone else’s problem

this house is dying

but what if I told you that there are no termites
no insects running a coup or takeover
that this house, the one you want me to mourn so badly was already a mess
a hell in which pretty upholstery upheld an undeniable fact
a pretty system,

I mean, house

is insufficient to the people who have lived in them and those denied entry
i will not wait for your “termites” to take over and eat the square footage
this house should be condemned, or better yet burned downand i volunteer to start

Furqan Mohamed is a writer and poet from Toronto. Her work focuses on issues surrounding culture, politics, and social justice. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, pursuing a double major in English and Women and Gender Studies and a minor in Creative Expression and Society. instagram: @heyfurqan