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And mean it; a screech of joy
so sharp make a كافر bow.

Here, the mangled text that will
become a poem — loose language —

blueprint for a reckoning.
Fuck a philology. Joy

is the imperfect sentence.
Syntax gone wrong and proudly:

burned dish I eat anyway,
smiling. I say: الحمد لله and

mean it, just as much. I have
always wanted to grow up

to be wind; impermanent,
yet ever-present – paired with

a sunset to die for. The
right gust at the right time was

all Mama ever needed
to see a sign from God. What

is winter to the breeze? A
flood to the sea? Once, I was

but a drop in still water,
and I have made my peace with

that. What is more احا than this
moment? I make Naguib قهوة,

darker than earth, and it lasts
the whole day. He reads my cup,

says he sees great احا in my
future. I say: I have kept

the احا safe under my
tongue where no uninvited

hand may snatch it at night. This
is how we’ve survived.

Hazem Fahmy is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominated poet and critic from Cairo. He is currently pursuing his MA in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. His debut chapbook, "Red//Jild//Prayer" won the 2017 Diode Editions Contest. A Watering Hole Fellow, his poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in Apogee, Bat City Review, Mizna, and The Offing. His performances have been featured on Button Poetry and Write About Now. He is a reader for the Shade Journal, a poetry editor for Voicemail Poems, and a contributing writer to Film Inquiry.

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