i marvel at pain, how it endures
how this brittle flesh of mine takes and takes
the only sign of its tired state a rough scar
i marvel that these ears have not yet begun to bleed
despite the ugly words they have heard
and this heart, it beats still, though my mind screams for it to
how these breaths
i only have the strength rallied in a
p a u s e,
Questioning a Silent...
Hear the words
chime like bells
around the city.
bones sprout where flowers
belong; insects crawl over dead
bodies; the fields are flooded
with corpses instead of water.
the mother has abandoned
her first child; the first child
cradles a baby; a baby’s cries
pierce the air instead of a lullaby.
Fat Shamed Pains
“Gary, where are the keys?”, said Kathy, my mom.
She was in a rush to find those keys, just to get rid of her only daughter. I deserved it though, considering her only daughter was an embarrassment to her.
“Honey, would you slow down.” said Gary, my dad.
My dad could care less what was occurring with my upcoming absence. He was always too busy reviewing game footage for his high school football team, which I’m pretty sure he loved more than me.
“Stevie are you ready to leave?” Mom asked.
Talking with him is an open road with many different journeys
Talking with you is like a conversation with a shadowy figure that is scared to come out into the light
He looks at me as this sweet girl
You look at me as you would a project
But what you both fail to realize is that I am neither
I am not as kind and sweet as you think,
Matter of fact, I am just like you
Beneath this exterior, I am demon too
I am no project
I will never be poked and prodded
To be honest, I can hide just like you
become a mystery too
Where the Pigeon Lands
I am nobody, which allows me to be anybody.
It can be liberating that people don’t know where I belong. Outside Dearborn, people see me as a Muslim Arab-American, but in Dearborn, my tan skin fits in with any culture, especially in the summer. I’m not too light to be mistaken for a Yemeni, not too dark to be mistaken for a Syrian, just in the middle. When I open my mouth, it perplexes people more.
“What dialect do you speak?”
“It’s called ‘Madani,’ it’s between Jordanian and Palestinian."
The Story of Her
When we were younger, we’d lean against the flowered sofa, our eyes fixated on the movements of Siti’s frail hands. Mesmerized, we’d watch as she massaged one month old Ali, as the olive oil would seep into the deep creases of her hands, like the rings of a tree, an indication of bittersweet age. Her youngest grandson, whom we called Aloushi, lay on the patterned rug, squirming beneath her touch. She’d continue to massage him in the olive oil, then wrap his tiny torso with the white cloth of fuschia and turquoise stripes that babies are given upon hospital birth.
The carnival train, full of colors, clowns, animals, and one headless giraffe, barrelled towards the floor vent where Mrs. Macaroni stood, screaming a terrible ‘here comes the train’ out of its whistle. Mrs. Macaroni seemed glued to the spot, and when the train crashed into her thigh, she fell with a screech onto the linoleum floor, and breathed her last breath. Suddenly, Michael sprang to his feet from where he had been lying pantsless and shoeless mere feet away, saw Mrs. Macaroni lying on the ground, and screamed a heartbreaking and high-pitched ‘NOOO!’
a body count
besides myself, the scissors
seem to work best on tender flesh
I should know.
we’re lined up, picturesque
I see my brothers and sisters lean
cold against the wall
bare white room, and God
you’re hurting me
watches us with angry
tears in her eyes, making tears
in each of us. she
likes to pick and choose
you’re hurting yourself
she even does it to herself
a nose, here, there, an ear
is simply monstrous
These Broken Ruins
He kneels on the pale marble floor,
she sits under the harsh white light
and the moment is pregnant with silence.
This house is clouded by a darkening night
and when my father starts to cry
my mother starts to scream.
The tears of hard years
carved mountains and valleys
like wrinkles across his face and hers.
In mending what is eternally broken
they have both shattered
and the rest of us are damaged, collateral
Frank Street, Flint, MI...
The house across from me is vacant. My neighbors and I take turns mowing the lawn, but we can do nothing about the hole in the roof. Through the windows, we can see that the water is destroying the inside of the house. I find it ironic that we are all drinking bottled water now because the city water is bad, and yet even the rain here is causing irreparable harm. What should be a life-giving symbol, water, is poisoning our bodies and destroying the houses. We have replaced all the plumbing in our house, the water heater, the boiler, the faucets, because the corrosion ate it all away.