bil 3arabi: 6 poems by Sara Saleh

By | 5 December 2019

little city

little city, on your scorched days Rania and I pool our
khamsmiyehs, buy Bonjus from baqqal abu Fadi, sell them
for triple the price, “dollar law samaht”, this country has us
believing we are so clever, so entrepreneurial, them
neighborhood kids should be grateful, “khalto, look at
us, don’t we make you

little city, on your anxious nights we gather in
balconies, lighthouse beacons with little-to-no
light, wreathed in smoke, we wait, we
sit, we speak, we speak over each
other, “ya 3layeh inshaAllah”, no one
actually wants to hear the answers,
I can’t afford to trust the morning,
I am still learning to believe it when it

little city, we want to sing, want to giggle silly over
boys and simple things, but you have different
plans, young men on tanks cuss loudly, young
men on tanks whistle at us, eyes open
empty, this dark, this shatter,
we tell them we have God, but
I don’t think they believe

little city, we climb to the top of the steeple
stairs, quiet and quieter, past jasmine
bushes, past bullet holes, confetti
of ‘86, no one bothers with
plaster, is it any wonder we don’t have
mothers and fathers, how long will you
hate yourself into something we can

little city, trying to forget

little city, how did you survive,
what did they call you…
before Syria, before Israel, before France, before
before, before…

little city, what becomes of history
if there remain no artists to write of it?

your pages are long, your patience

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