Lena Khalaf Tuffaha

Some people can go up to twenty seconds

                    without breathing especially in the middle

                                         of the night         I was writing a poem then

an arrhythmia set in. It’s about refugees, but it’s also full

                    of paranormal phenomena, it’s about food scarcity,

                                         and the thing is, it can’t save us. I believe

in the spirit world, I have no desire to encounter its edges,

                    to graze the lip of the cauldron, the flames braiding

                                         and unbraiding in my throat. Let us plan

to decolonize our spaces, let us avoid those who personify, imposters

                    rearranging words in a style that snaps and sinews

                                         without a pulse at its heart. Are we in love, any of us,

inside the rooms we inhabit? Is love the first

                    casualty of our ongoing wars? Let us plan, brothers and sisters,

                                         a museum heist or a freedom march, a lapis lazuli

set in metal that will not tarnish, scored thrice

                    in the way our grandmothers tattooed their chins.

                                         You cannot swallow a life

that large, the bones no longer

                    tender, the body

                                         changed by what it has carried.


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