two poems

by leena aboutaleb

lilac trees as the merge between dimensions

how to untell time: the amount of earth in us.
I uncoil time into a hymen, a hymn.

margins of the universe: locating how far
Ramallah’s air is from my body.

what is theft but a lilac tree turning
blue? I run in between gardens,

stones with bullet-holes are the trick
to defeat — I think I am invincible til

I fall into bullet-rotted stones. the lilac
kisses fajr awake & fajr wakes my mother,

she coos into the land, breathes prayers onto
their bodies green til they yield fertile.

I wait. clean jeans and hot tea.
the margins between the universe exist

when I am grasping for Ramallah across
water, wishing for a return into un/known.

time is relative, cyclical. to return is to leave. to return
is to come. source: my lover’s outstretched arms.

the trick of time is to steal it, unwind its stomach into a moth.
the bullet-rotted structures are different in Ramallah

than Kuwait. the lilac trees are painted blue
before they steal into gardens. source: al saber, lovingly sliced.

to unwind time, I leave.
I have stolen, like the lilac trees.

the elegy (iii); the sea:

persian                    warmth; the fish
                  suck on the metal rods      you, a child, move to
                  lay along the corniche

١meaning grief ; حزن

                  they mistook you for        alive
the morning of;                     your front, still warm
                                                 under your window
                                                 our old sea holding you.

                                                 we have not been home
                                                 in years.

                your back, iced
                frozen, mama said,
                like california’s sea

٢ in ramallah, he crosses the threshold
passing jericho’s dead sea;       you move to cairo
they see you, dead, in the garden

                                                                                                 ٣ static water; I douse you
                                                                                                 with the hose in riyadh,
                                                                                                 another old sea;
                                                                                                 the whales are calling you

                                                                                                 ٤ if I speak
the elegy               of your eyelashes;
I follow
your eyes
our eyes
in dream

leena aboutaleb is an egyptian palestinian who is made in between spaces. she is a graduate student at the george washington university, where she focuses on palestinian temporality and futurisms. she can be virtually located @leena.jpeg via Instagram