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my body, young, averting / believing its own dream / of an earth that was / never hers.

Poetry | Palestine, poetry
October 19, 2023

—after Ghassan Kanafani

my grandmother fed years to flames,
sat for the better part of a motherhood
by the half-torpedo of propane
fiction blue with yawning jaw,
brassy with heat and age.

alone she sometimes considered
letting the fire more-than-lick her
watched the potato slices

slide into oil—
olive green in girlhood,
corn-clear in the years after the trees—

each piece, haloed by spitting steam,
earnest bee writing the way back perfume

a map

she envied the way their dirt went silk
between warm water and palm,
how eyes and knots gave way, bloodless,
as her blade took their peel.

the insides scalded soft
a second skin of heat
dressed in onions and sometimes meat—

sprinkle of liver, gawking fish,
pigeons she raised but never named,
sweet with bones of air.

but it was potatoes, stubborn and cheap,
that covered hunger with their weight

a doom she chose over smoke.

we praised
the bulk of her
or we praised
the hot dish
the perfect tea
the strike of her
spoon-clapping feast.

stomach full, i grew
tired of the smells
of denatured starch.
my heart in rainboots
fearing her wet
air, swollen arms,
her hands too smooth
from years of steam.

my body, young, averting
believing its own dream
of an earth that was
never hers.

an altar, our loss
unmeasured. a past
we blew kisses to.

secrets kept till death
that she told us every day

the blessed

the year she
surrendered skin.