issue 4: dec 2015, Poetry
Comments 2

no fantasy by Zaina Alsous

no fantasy
before you follow the road
down the curve of my lips
hoping for moist whispers
you should know

no fantasy lives here

before you let the pitch of my laughter fool you
the way it fills my eyes and lingers
like frozen honey
remember

no fantasy lives here

i am the daughter of dodged bullets
and digging through hot garbage
pushed through the legs
of an anxious mother
who spilled tears into the sea
when she left her anxious mother

because the English choked her

an inheritance
stuck to the roof of my mouth
i cannot taste
the times she broke fast on bone broth

and didn’t complain of empty belly

the phone rings marking death in another land
i couldn’t tell her sister I’m sorry

i don’t remember the word for grief in Arabic

a taste of dust
the wrinkles in my
jiddo’s feet
we eat with cold bread
on a cold floor
i wonder how long he had to run
away from lemon trees
away from mother’s womb

to be a shard

i am the daughter of belonging to nowhere

i warn you
the broken glass I carry in my hair
will cut you in your sleep
interrupt your dreams
of what I could be
what I should be

no fantasy lives here

is it any wonder
i burn boats before they get too close to the shore
knees pressed to chest behind chainmail veil
i spilled the ink to spell it out for you
don’t waste your time

no fantasy lives here


زينة الصوص (Zaina Alsous) is located in Durham, North Carolina. Her mother and father were both born and raised as Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Her mother يسرا was born in Saida and her father عماد was born and raised in the Borj El Barajneh refugee camp. Her grandparents were forced to flee Palestine in 1948. “My poetry is inspired by exile, family, Islam and inherited traumas. The poem “becoming Latifah” is in honor of my maternal grandmother Latifah who used her knowledge of the land growing up on a farm in Palestine to help grow food that kept my mother’s family alive during the war in Lebanon, knowledge she passed down to her children. “Islam” is inspired my complicated but loving relationship with the faith of my parents, a faith I grew up with and still connect to from time to time. The last poem I am submitting “no fantasy” references a tradition of placelessness, of dispossession, passed down to daughters of diaspora.” 

You can find her on tumblr, twitter, and instagram.

Illustration by Raz (twitter).

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