bil 3arabi: 6 poems by Sara Saleh

By | 5 December 2019

The Beautiful Terrible
after Natalie Diaz

Glory be to the loss. What is there
to say to a man whose
mouth has betrayed

him. Why leave the one
you love, in search of
another non-love. I follow the

geometry of your neck, your glowing
moonface, how long must I dreg
fingers across wrist, across
melancholy, you recite my

name … salawat, what is said – what
should have been said. How you
belong to that no-one country, I invent
the divine in me, I want to pull you

under, and under again, until
we are oceaned. Disappear
those toothy-grinned lovers in shoulder

blades, they are more mine than
yours. I wonder who will tether
themselves to your hips, they
look like homeland, must we

touch to believe we are really
here, our skin tingles, one
endless stick of cinnamon. We
guard this moment, ask permission for

next breath, I will never be
as happy as now, habibi, habibi,
this is our pilgrimage, I do

grief-work with your body. Sweat
to make the bushfire in your voice
break to ambers and violets and
lush greens. How I wanted to

surrender my dialects, all their
silence, this language blames
us, spare me this last goodbye

tonight. Glory be to the beautiful
terrible. You are more hers than
mine … and this is a poem older than loss.

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