'Listen' by Rebecca Emin


You stand and gaze out from your artificial dwelling. A frightful sight, but the design was acceptable in the eighties. You came and placed this monstrosity on our land.

Oh, Human, you think that this land belongs to you, don’t you? How wrong you are. My forefathers have been here since ancient times. What right do you have to claim ownership?

My friends and I lived in symbiotic harmony. Then the bricks and cement arrived. We try to appeal to your better nature by informing you of our claims. Your law of precedent seems not to apply to us.

Kassie swoops around in circles and tells her story every day. She is getting frustrated, Human, as you watch but do not listen. She screams. Woeful tales of a lost time when the land was green and her family reigned. The remainder of her kind is endangered because of you, Human. How can you bear to see them disappear? But maybe you do have a soft spot, after all, as she is now termed ‘protected’. Kassie the Protected. She loves her new, grand, title.

Faberniss is a curious transient. Every evening she leaves her home with another human. She leaves her cosy bed and her freaky human name behind, to visit the garden that you think is yours, to scratch around in the dirt. By way of the scent of her own waste, she claims the very soil as her own. Yet, still, you ignore these signs. You clear up her message and move on in your own little bubble.

My family and I are the final hope. We hear a musical sound coming from your dwelling on a regular basis. Perhaps the way to teach you is through song. We learn our words and teach it to our offspring. We have done so for generations. We practice the tale of the space that was ours, the conquering and the destruction, and the final return to try and live with you in a semblance of harmony.

Yet, Human, you don’t listen do you? With your four wheeled transport devices, and your noisy young, maybe that is not your fault. We will find a way. The only time that it seems that we have an opportunity to be heard is as the Giver of Life rises in the East. At that time, we sing our song to our hearts' content. Hear us, Human. We are here.


First published in ’50 Stories for Pakistan’ http://www.blurb.co.uk/bookstore/detail/1678288

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