Tuesday, December 4, 2012


when we were fourteen,
you were golden.
a little smoky around the edges.
i waded in deep water, watching out
for catfish and dreamed about
kissing you in the bushes. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Two days before Thanksgiving and I'm doing homework on my mother's living room floor. My six-year-old brother is drawing on my feet. The kitchen smells amazing.

I am so thankful.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


i wrote a poem to your skin once,
while your mother made me tea.
i didn't read it to her, of course.

but she gave me a note
that called me 
her daughter-in-law,
she said it was our crime.

i tore it up after she left, hid 
the pieces under my mattress.
i drink tea by myself,
and write another poem to your skin.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

ramadan kareem.

Iftar at my Christian mother's is always a treat. Ten minutes before Maghrib, and everything's ready but the salad. I'm chopping vegetables with my mother in the kitchen. A mix of east and west: southern grilled squash, baked sweet potatoes, Libyan salad, and of course, dates and milk.

My eight-year-old brother, having memorized the time of Maghrib today, shouts out from the living room, "Six more minutes!" My six-year-old brother sings "God is big, big, big, His love is wide, wide, wide" while the sun sinks.

I sing with him while I finish the salad. The adhan calls out from my computer.

I break my fast and pray. One of my brothers usually rolls my mat out for me in the direction of the Qiblah and brings me my prayer clothes. Not today, so I have to do it myself. I remind myself to thank God for my family.

We watch Prince of Egypt over iftar. Once we're done eating, me and my mother move to the couch with our laptops, where we watch with one eye and research Biblical history with the other. We discuss Moses in the Bible and the Qur'an. The differences are infinitesimal.

Before the movie is over, we've covered David and Solomon, Lot and his people, the creation of Adam, the origin of Satan, and the nature of angels.

Moses delivers his people out of Egypt. The credits roll. One out of three boys is asleep and the other two are sent to bed. I thank God for my family.

Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah. Alhamdulillah.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

infidel (reading).

hear it here. 


you have built entire shrines to his mouth,
living in a cathedral shaped of all his harsh 
words and discarded teeth.

stop writing psalms about his tongue,
prostrating yourself at his lips;
he does not understand 
you are hanging your moon on him.
this is sacrilege. 
neither he nor your god deserve that.

his jaw, you've made into a hollowed out ship
you ride home from loneliness.
on the sea of your insecurities,
he is like sand, scarce.
how many pilgrimages have you
made into his body?
how often have you offered 
your burnt  hopes to the holy space
inside his throat?

the way you breathe his name
is blasphemy.

i know you think burrowing yourself
into the inside of his cheek each 
night is paradise.

but when he swallows you whole,
the false gods you found in his 
wisdom teeth
will only prove wood
to the fire in his belly. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012


where do you find your audacity?
where did you lose your shame?
who taught you your head
sits higher than mine?
from where did you steal
your scepter?

i will never forget
you tried to do this.