by Fatema Alzari
For you: فَنَرْ, lover of moonlight, tanned water skins, upstream currents: فَرَاغْ, phantom touches, echoing hum, wholeness of a hole—all this love, of beauty, of innocence, of blooming, of being the child; this is how to grow a hand-me-down life: بابا, he carried the leather of the lineage—I fused the primal flesh into my skin. There are no records of my ancestry, except stories about socks and glitter. Love that: forgotten folk;فَنَاء, antique-polished hearts, brass core, molten veins. Be amongst the shipwreck, the darkness. We are looking between two seas: لُؤلُؤ, fidjeri, habl, nafas. Why not worship the past that paid for your life? Love that: a small closet, whatever is not there, all the dust you keep from the sun. Here, you leave: فُؤادْ, morning sacrifice, octopus hearts, flames of heritage. All this a way to dream of home on the land you love; وَريدْ, threads woven through the jellabiya— the same chord around your throat. We are children. All these words for love, all these ways to say hold me, to say let me stay, here in safety.
Fatema Alzari is a Bahraini illustrator with a background in law. Her poems usually explore themes around identity, relationships, and what it means to ‘grow up’. Fatema enjoys writing multilingual poems—English, Arabic, and German. Her first published poem, Viral Lovers, is with Sekka Magazine.