“I don’t know why everyone
is still trying to find out
whether heaven and hell exist.
Why do we need more evidence?
They exist here on this very Earth.
Heaven is standing atop Mount Qasioun
overlooking the Damascene sights
with the wind carrying Qabbani’s
dulcet words all around you.
And hell is only four hours away
in Aleppo where children’s cries
drown out the explosions of mortar bombs
until they lose their voice,
their families, and their limbs.
Yes, hell certainly does exist
right now, at this moment,
as I pen this poem. And all we’re doing
to extinguish this hellfire
is sighing, shrugging, liking, and sharing.
Tell me: what exactly does that make
us? Are we any better than the
gatekeepers of hell?”