Sunday, 4 February 2018

Sunday Poem

application for the position of abdelhalim hafez's girl

By Safia Elhillo (From The January Children)

i go quiet for days     i turn the colour of mirrors
i turn the colour of smoke     men tell me sometimes
that blue becomes me     when i answer my voice
is hoarse from disuse  i am afraid of my body & the ways
that it fails me   i faint   a woman on the subway platform
catches me   floating into the tracks   i become the colour
blue     i don't like to be touched     i wonder why
more people     have not been kidnapped by taxi drivers
white men ask me     to say their names in arabic
ask where i'm     [really from]     i am six months
returned from sudan     henna fading to look like burns
dusted up my arms     i bleed & can't stop bleeding
i speak & my mouth     is my biggest wound
every language     is a borrowed joke     i catch myself
complimenting strangers   on their english   i am six months
returned from incense smoke   to soften the taste of river water
incense burned   to avert the evil eye   i see a possessed 
woman scream   when a prayer is read   her eyes the color
of smoke     & mine is a story older than water

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