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America swallowed my parents / spit out skeletons / Waleed became Bill / the Clintons stretched / their skinny vowels / over my father’s father’s father’s name / my mother says she renamed herself after Lana Turner / I say she renamed herself after the first woman / who sounded less like honey / my mother gives me a neutral name / reminds me / homes are always provisional / lonely women give birth to lonely women / I beget my one body through the roof / the sky is just a lonely woman napping / my mother took a scalpel to the M / in her name / gave it to mine / began my sister’s with an N / neat / noble / next / I was an incision baby / when my mother begot me / she lost a section of stomach / a letter / my mother lives to the left of everything she can read / unmarried the magic of her God-gifted name / Lama / Lama Turner / like the radio / switched to the last song / of whatever keeps the windows closed / women who sound like honey / never live long /

my next car won’t be able to hold my neck /
 
 
  
 
  
 
  
 
 

Maya Salameh is a Syrian-American poet studying at Stanford University. She is a 2016 National Student Poet, America's highest honor for youth poets, and has performed at venues including the Obama White House and Carnegie Hall. She is a poet fellow of the William Male Foundation and Leonard Slade Endowment. Her work has been published in the Greensboro Review. Her chapbook, rooh, is forthcoming with Paper Nautilus Press in 2020.

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