Tear My Skin Open

Mariam Salem

Al Faris International School (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

It was when mom grinned at me

and mumbled that we were at peace

Before I could even nod and agree

Bombs were unleashed, and gunshots wouldn't cease

In a matter of seconds, we became the criminals and the police

Etched cries plugged my ears

As my house burned in flames

My eyes drowned in crystal tears

Guns, tanks, bombs and planes

They demolished the memories I cherished through the years

Transforming a childhood home to ashes and remains

I yelped out for my family

For all I could see was blood

Raging with anxiety, I ran aimlessly

In an ocean of bricks, stones and mud

Revolutions shouted their desire for freedom

Whilst attacking mine

They spit lethal words of no wisdom

Damn that cursed shrine

Under the burning sun, I flare

Beneath the dim moon, I pray

Oh how do they dare

To snatch my innocence away


The world shoves mics and cameras in my face

"Did you miss your school?"

'How cruel'

"We know how it feels to be in your place"

'Am I your reporting tool?'

Thank you! for now I'm the fuel!

That ignites media to senselessly repeat the same old story!

For the world carves our scars then demands us to be sorry!

For the money! For the power!

Cheer louder as our lives turn sour

For the rights you can't deny!

Cheer louder as we rot and die


So tear my skin open

And step in my shoes

Will you bear a heart that’s broken?

Will you bear a life of blues?


So tear my skin open

And step right in

Will you bear a dead family member every now and then?

Will you bear the cold when you grow thin?

Helplessly, we seek to survive

Lacking water, food or warmth

We manage to remain alive

It's not the blankets or profit that aids us to sleep at night

It's not your pity that dissolves our everlasting fright

It's not your pointless thoughts that save us from being drowned

It's our dead parents six-feet underground…

Profoundly, thank you for I who was called free

Am now constantly labelled as a 'refugee'


Mariam Salem, born on the 26th of August, began her writing expedition at the age of 7 in exploration of her true inner self. It was around that age that other arts journeys started too. In an encounter of who she is, she was definite of what she wanted to be. She grew up determined with a strong will of flying to her dreams unconditionally. Mariam considers every poem a step closer to her goals. Her poetry might seem about dreams or death but mysteriously communicates a deeper symbolic meaning if deconstructed.