by Samia Saliba
after Suheir Hammad
what if we went wild under somebody else’s moonlight. running hand-me-down car engines till they bust. what then, when we are splayed out & freezing under no clouds? you still love me? under all my poorly hidden sadness? yes body loves the water and the pink of this place loves you. the shining & spinning parts. yes, that’s a firework, maybe. this place is teeming with open air. space to shoot. space to kill. space to cry, cry. into deep valleys. hey cowboy!! nothing’s louder than me now.
zuihitsu for the friends who write me into their oceans
with lyrics from young the giant
who congratulates the ocean for cradling us? my love is wider and further and heartier than any of the stems of a delta. goodness is only a part of the equation. i dreamt i bought a mandolin just to play your favorite song. the tongue is a number. we used to linger our thumbs over the groaning piano keys i was six or eight, doing interpretive dance on the sidewalk next to the buskers, my friends, for you, i give up my water and watch you sink in, the rippling wood of a heavy table, the cat rattling the closet door at midnight, all this a music. are you listening? god knows i’m listening to you. i’m reading your tinyletters, your lips as they shake some harmony into my thoughts. the windows sweating over our finger paintings. we drew each other when we could no longer touch; the soft graphite texture of water dragging hand to face. you carved a boat to sail my shadow, its soft-edged shape like the calendar photo for june, the blue mountains layering over the fog. that photo hung for months in my apartment, the one where every upstairs toilet flush flooded my ears like a drowning, tunneling, twice a night; i still collect paper strips & fabric scraps for us to collage over our bodies. i’m too full of hollowing synthetic ocean sounds, the kind that drop you into sleep and hold you there. i’m too full to sleep to practice arguing in the shower. i’d rather imagine we’re swimming, holding hands on the current we float on the infinite blue
* give up my water / and watch you sink in – typhoon, young the giant
** you carve a boat to sail my shadow – apartment, young the giant
*** float on the infinite blue – titus was born, young the giant
Samia Saliba (she/her) is an Arab-American writer and historian. She edited The Rachel Corrie Foundation’s Shuruq 4.5 Writing Showcase for writers of Arab heritage (2020) and was a RAWI Wet Hot Arab-American Summer fellow (2019). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Sycamore Review, Vagabond City Lit, Kissing Dynamite, Mizna, and elsewhere. Find her on twitter @sa_miathrmoplis or in real life petting a cat.