I am white where it matters in front of the
camera I am an egg a cobweb when
my mother calls me Haloul I pretend not
to hear here I am a résumé doll
gown of paper checklist piss in a cup
I was afraid of my body but not
anymore now there’s respect this bitch
pantyless humming louder than
the machine I am white when
asked to be storyboarding my own
grandmother into a poem here I am
meet cute between egg & song
The Female of the Species
They leave the country with gasping babies and suitcases
full of spices and cassettes. In airports,
they line themselves up like wine bottles.
The new city twinkles beneath an onion moon.
Birds mistake the pebbles of glass on the
black asphalt for bread crumbs.
If I drink, I tell stories about the women I know.
They break dinner plates. They marry impulsively.
When I was a child I watched my aunt throw a halo
of spaghetti at my mother. Now I’m older than they were.
In an old-new year, my cousin shouts ana bint Beirut
at the sleeping houses. She clatters up the stairs.
I never remember to tell her anything. Not the dream
where I can’t yell loud enough for her to stop running.
And the train comes. And the amar layers the stones
like lichen. How the best night of my life was the one
she danced with me in Paris, sharing a hostel bed,
and how sometimes you need one knife to carve another.
It’s raining in two cities at once. The Vendôme plaza
fills with water and the dream, the fountain, the moon
explodes open, so that Layal, Beirut’s last daughter,
can walk through the exit wound.