draft, ahmed

i now know

my whole body is my heart

seeing his sweet cheeks, his baby fingers before he became the corpse, uplifted

silhouetted by fire

i remember i often fall in love backwards

a modern day skill

beginning with blood or absence

a newborn ghost, a headline

(you want a trigger warning:

look at your crooked finger)

another sacred tragedy

(stranger i pray you survive the telling)

then my nauseous heart and i, waiting


until someone, with trembling hands

(and prayers every other breath because we do not blame god for the work of men)

tells me what matters about my new love

not gender, not state, but memory

the way they held their favorite toy

scream their past, weep their name

whisper it, i am listening

and owed nothing—no, i owe you

i was born in the us of a

into the cult and debt of superpower

a clueless villain aghast in this mirror

tell me what your love loved and who

and what horizon collapsed

when the sun set in their eyes

i am sorry i am sorry i am so sorry


i know it doesn’t yet matter what i do

my solidarity mere tributary

my heart must flow into yours

and yours and yours

until we can crest this fatal wave

we won’t matter until the death stops

until the cycles of superiority stop

until the distorted lenses that make us turn each other into pieces are all destroyed

we are extracting the poison from within

we are relinquishing delusion

someone has to shape the world that is into the world to come

everyone who can, in every way

even my ways, even mine

so i listen and change and act and listen


but i wish i had met ahmed and sidra and reem and hind and and and, breathing

and i wish i had never known their names

if it was only to lose them

and i wish we were untangled

that my grief was not choked with my guilt

and i wish i could ever do enough

in the eyes of gods and goddesses and jesus and buddha and the ancestors

in the eyes of the grandchildren

emerging wide awake from other wombs

in the eyes of the earth itself

and, but, child—i am so grateful

my heart saw your face


now i must let it change me

and hold on to everyone else changing

leaving behind those who aren’t ready

to hold the world


it is only us after all

doing everything

all of it

what we allow

what we turn away from

it sticks to us, it goes with us

until we remember we are earth

until we decide we can decide

we must decide

we are the invisible thread

we hold it together, the world

in our hands, uplifted