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Goddess Triptych: Three Poems by Banah el Ghadbanah

I kiss / you & the sands roam every valley to ride this / wind. I kiss you & suddenly we are home again

Editors’ Note: The following poems by Banah el Ghadbanah are part of the notebook I Want Sky, collecting prose, poems, and hybrid work celebrating Egyptian activist Sarah Hegazy, and the lives of all LGBTQ+ Arabs and people of the SWANA region and its diaspora. Edited by Mariam Bazeed and published as a part of a partnership with Mizna, the notebook will also be available as a print issue this summer, including pieces exclusive to that format. Continue reading work published in this series here.


“happy international women’s day!”
we in the youth collective
tell our fierce Zenobian 
activist auntie mother of nine
in the serious blue abaya and 
sensible shoes with a baby
in her lap. “And 
what is a woman? Certainly 
not me. I have never felt like
a woman nor will I 
ever be.”

asushunamir: In the Sumerian cosmology, these were ancient spirits who helped Ishtar resurrect from the land of no return, nonbinary spirits born both and neither man & woman.


“She smiled, showing her side teeth.
Lightning flashed. 
I couldn’t tell which of the two split the darkness.”

from “As the Night Let its Curtain Down in Folds” by Ibn Arabi

Your nectarine juice drips down my chin. Your body is
a sunset I am dancing in & you meet me, ecstatic under
the palm trees. Our auras are opalite jewels basking
in the waning breeze & your eyes are an amethyst mirror
of heaven

If only we had enough time your brown
skin on mine if only we could have enough
space let’s trek the galaxy so that we may
have forever 

I kiss you & a rose
blooms green in the night. I kiss you & the 
moon tells me god is love unconditional. I
kiss you & the trees sway down from
the heavens to be closer to our sweetness. I kiss
you & the sands roam every valley to ride this
wind. I kiss you & suddenly we are home again

išhara:  An ancient deity from Northern Syria, a goddess of passion and love. The essence of a Scorpio. A Hittite goddess, protector of oaths and promises.


my ocean in
your cave, a
luminous flower,
we crescendo
in the heart
of morning sun.
your soft citrine
on my tongue.

qadesh: Syrian goddess of sacred ecstasy and sexual pleasure. She rides on the back of a lion, holding a snake in one hand and a lotus flower in the other.