I wonder if lovers ever traverse the Via in
their honeymoon phase, when love is still fresh and makes one feel alive.
how alive can you feel while walking down a road that only
leads to death?
I want to slip on sandals and walk a mile in the shoes of Maria,
feel the calluses in my bones as my feet drag over the
cobblestone cracks where the only boy I’ve ever loved fell three times.
Upon telling her I have lost a dear friend my mother only responds that I must learn to guard my heart. I do not miss the daggers that appear in her eyes -- she has spent so long running from place to place to help me find the freedom I need to live only to realize she cannot protect me from the prison that absent love has set up shop in my mind.
He asks me what I do for a living. I tell him I am a debater, which he will fail to realize until later is only a euphemism for “I have learned to read my opponents’ body language so well I can almost watch you fall out of love with me before you decide I am worth an explanation.”
My friends tell me I will find love one day, someday, I'll find a way when I ask them why it seems I am attracted to a love that never stays. Recently, I turned the mirror inward and realized How can I ever expect love to stay if I am always the first to leave?
My father was the first to leave. The first to show me that sometimes leaving is an act of love and you've heard this story a thousand times but sometimes love comes back but it’s never the same. Is that why whenever I leave I don't look back, knowing we can never recreate the love we once had? When a building burns you cannot build it as if it were the first time, you can only restore it off of memories. Perhaps this is selfish but I don't want to come back to the love we had and find out it’s been reduced to a mirage - a mere memory - of the lovers we used to be.
He asks me why I am afraid to love and while it is true I am scared of getting hurt it is also true that when I say goodbye to my relatives knowing it could be years before I see them again — I do not cry. I do not cry. /I do not cry./ When you ask me why I am afraid to love, I guess what I forgot to tell you was I have become so used to a love that’s absent — separated by the border of two hearts who may have been cut from the same cloth but do not understand each other — I have realized this absent love has made my heart numb. Perhaps I am afraid I will take our love, too, and numb it so I won’t be scared when we decide it is time to leave one another.
Upon asking her about love my mother only responds, “I hope you find a gentleman who lets you be who you want to be.” I do not miss the hope that appears in her eyes — she knows there are far too many boys who will kiss your hand as they guide you gently into the cage. I have never needed a man to free me from myself, but perhaps I will meet someone who won’t forget I am a girl of the ocean and that is why I leave - water never stays in the same place. Maybe our waves will superimpose until we form a tidal that doesn’t self-destruct -- a love that stays coursing through the sea, endlessly.
Finally flowing freely, fearlessly.
every word i have written for you
has been a verse full of love
filled with good intentions
every verse i have written for you
has been a song full of acceptance
filled with quiet understanding
every song i have written for you
has been a poem full of finality
filled with a last goodbye.
sometimes you can still break people’s hearts even when you only have their best intentions at heart.
take accountability but learn to forgive yourself, too.
you did the best with what you could at the time.
I know the next time our bodies will lay side by side is when our books sit on the same shelf.
The bookkeeper will ask me if I’m familiar with your work and I will say out loud, Yes, I knew you once.
In my heart I will also say out loud, Yes, I loved you. Once.
do i love you
or do i simply lust for you
a month to the day
you picked me up when
i had to leave before the sun rose
i fell asleep in the arms of another
and though the sound of her breathing
gently rocked me to sleep
something was missing
because it was not your hands that
held me until the sun rose
she and i did not speak
she pulled me closer toward her
and i obliged
trying to convince myself
that this silence was intimate
but i knew that if
you had been the one
sleeping next to me instead
we would have spent
the first two hours
talking about all the things
we believed in
your hands following my words
my words following your mouth
tell me why
i love her,
but i do not love her
does that explain why
i was the first to leave
that night i discovered
an unfortunate truth —
up until then i thought
was just a body
begging to be held
but it turns out
what good is intimacy
if it doesn’t come
from the right arms
does it cease to become intimacy
and instead turns into just another body
being held by another body
plus the emptiness that accompanies that
so let me ask again
do i simply lust for you
or do i love you
maybe years from now
we will find ourselves in the same bed
forgetting about the eighteen ghosts
that used to sleep beside me
and you will give me a reason to stay
instead of being the first to leave
at least i got you in my head
some days i’m okay
and then i remember you’re gone
you’re not coming back
it was my words that
led us to each other’s side
it was my words that
pushed you away from
my embrace. maybe one day
i’ll forgive myself
for ayah and imaan
my heart is with you, forever.
you loved me
in the summertime
when my smile was as wide as a tangerine peel
and the stream’s softly rippling waves
could not hold a candle to the sound of my crashing laughter
and my tears
that this city was written to break my heart
to help me understand why it had been broken before
but will you love me in the spring
when i often find myself
crying in the confessional
trying to condense a years’ worth of sins
into ten bullet points
will you love me in the spring
when i use the anniversary of my maker’s mortality
to try to remake myself
and you might end up walking in on the
middle of the resurrection
(habibi, will you run away
from what i am evolving into?
i’m cleaning all the rooms
of my heart
to make room for you)
will you love me in the spring
when my hair is longer
and i am bundled up
and my skin no longer glows
and my voice is fading
and i am nothing at all
like the girl you remember
because tangerines don’t grow in the winter