Hour 12

A husband’s face

in a Berlin crowd

brings the comfort and

reassurance of

a mother’s face

in a parents crowd:

the familiarity of

a world where

you can be okay.


Hour 11

Returning to my homeland

is a phantom limb sensation:

the pain of having been uprooted

from the Nile Delta and confined

into a eighteen inch German pot.

An Egyptian Lotus used to thriving

effortlessly in its habitat but is now

struggling to grow at all.

Hour 10

A cold blackberry

was the love child of our tongues’

embrace in the dark

Hour 9

If you nap under a tree in July

branches will break up the

sky into seven puzzle pieces

and you will keep sleeping

until a woodpecker finally

comes out to collect them

all and drop them one

by one on your stagnant

chest and your heart will

beat seven times

before you become.


Hour 8

Estrangement is

crying on

my kitchen

floor at 11 pm

while scrubbing

the blackness out

of the burnt

German pot

that could not

contain the

deliciousness of

an Egyptian

rice pudding.

Hour 7

My luggage got left behind

for three days in Belgrade.

I will say that I lost sleep

along with all hope

to ever see my things again

and I will not feel bad for

loving my chosen things.

Every item that represents me,

comforts me, smells like me

would either rot in a bag

somewhere or end up on

somebody else’s skin

and lose all recollection

of me.

When my luggage arrived

it was changed. My black sweater

was blacker, my scissors were

sharper, my perfume was

stronger, and my brown bag was

sturdier. All my things were

infused with the intensity of

estranged lovers and the vintage

aroma of flea markets. They have

gone through life and matured

without me. They have a history

that I am not part of and I

love them all the more for it.


Hour 6

Which side of the train

do you to sit on?
Do you sit against

the direction of the

train where trees

are coming at you

and the sky is

pulling you in?

or do you sit with

the direction of the

train where trees

are passing you by

and the sky is

running away?

Whichever side

you choose, save me

a seat on the other side

because I would like

to sit opposite of you

and rest our temples

on the same window

to watch both sides

of the same view.

Hour 5

A line came to me in a dream.

I saw it being written in the air

as though my dream was subtitled.

Every word vanished seconds

after appearing but I woke up

repeating the line anyway.

My body ached with outsideness

or was it outsiderness?

My body ached with outsideness

as I begged to be let in. I do not

remember who I was begging nor

what stood on the other side of

my begging, I only remember

an intense craving for insideness

and the sound of my fists on the door

where my outsideness hung

on me like a cloak.

Hour 4

A sewing needle stood

on our living room carpet

like a headless flower

as I ran barefoot to show

Mama the drawing

I had just finished.

Her eyes followed my fingers

along the drawing but

she didn’t hear anything

I said because she was panicking

about the trail of blood on the floor

and wondering where it came from.

She tried to pick the needle out

of my heel but it had broken into

two halves: one lay bloody

on the carpet and the other

nested in my heel.

In the emergency room

I lie on a white sanitized

bed and three people

stand at my feet but

I can’t see what they’re doing

from behind the Xray image

of my foot that Mama

planted in front of my face

to shield me from the sight of

three old men digging in my heel.

She put on her storytelling voice

and if I had closed my eyes I could

have been in my bed at home and

her voice could have been coming

from the chair where she sat in the

hallway so the story would reach both

the girls’s and the boy’s room.

I followed her fingers along the image,

but I didn’t hear anything she said

because I was panicking about

my drawing back home

and wondering if it was

spoiled by blood stains.

I went home to my drawing

with a bandaged foot and

a needle that found a home

in my heel while Mama

searched our home for the

other half of the needle

but could not find it.

From that day on

every time I got pins

and needles from sitting

on the floor bent over a book

I would think the mutilated

needle is longing for her

other half and I

would gently pat my heel

until the needle is soothed.


Hour 3

A leaf floated

on the surface of

the four day old water

in the vase while

a wilting red rose,

not knowing that in her

grief lies her demise,

bent her head in

mourning of the offspring

lowered into its liquid grave.

The deadly green hue

stared back at me

from behind the cadaverous glass

as I willed myself

to turn away before

I, too, catch my decay.