no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well
Our men do not belong to us. Even my own father, left one afternoon, is not mine. My brother is in prison, is not mine. My uncles, they go back home and they are shot in the head, are not mine. My cousins, stabbed in the street for being too—or not—enough, are not mine.
for Saaid Shire
The poem can start with him walking backwards into a room.
He takes off his jacket and sits down for the rest of his life;
that's how we bring Dad back.
Well, I think home spat me out, the blackouts and curfews like tongue against loose tooth. God, do you know how difficult it is, to talk about the day your own city dragged you by the hair, past the old prison, past the school gates, past the burning torsos erected on poles like flags? When I meet others like me I recognise the longing, the missing, the memory of ash on their faces. No one le
Your daughter is ugly.
She knows loss intimately,
carries whole cities in her belly.
Can you believe I have cancer? Yosra asks,
a mug of tea between her hands,
almost laughing, hair cut close to her scalp.
I imagine the cancer auditioning
Dear Uncle, is everything you love foreign
or are you foreign to everything you love?
We're all animals and the body wants what it wants,
I know. The blonde said Come in, take off
Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women; kitchen of lust,
bedroom of grief, bathroom of apathy.
Sometimes the men - they come with keys,
I have dreamt of you suspended
in amniotic fluid, your hair fanned
out and alive, long again, before the cancer.
Undying, our movements synchronised,
I think I brought the war with me
on my skin, a shroud
circling my skull, matter under my nails.
It sits at my feet while I watch TV.