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The Lost Arabs.

for my dear Najwan Darwish

 In the kingdom of lost Arabs, every rock is a beautiful
separatist until you spit on it.
In some cultures spit is a benediction.
Give me the waters of your tongue, any wet word
can soothe a silent throat and mine
keeps closing over my mother, grandmother
and even my slowest, least kind cousins
who can speak with the thick voice of our people
and who, with each sloshing mouthful, locate
themselves in our country. My teeth
dream of the three nations that yellow
their bone. I wet their edges,
a clueless cartographer who has never known a hill
or a river that wasn't stolen from someone
and so can never know their true shape.
When I look at our names, all I see are squiggly lines.
Would you believe I keep trying to find the poetry
in a wound? How foolish. How graceless.
And yet: a man who knows his history told me it was in my blood.
What idiot put it there?
Maybe this is why I have spilled so much of it on the blade
of authenticity. Cut down
those I deemed false, all the others I loved--and love--
but refused to become. Every day
my certainty collapses. That I am lost. Or can be found.
That there is such a thing as Arab.
None of this is real, it exists only in your mind,
the stone I cleaved with this sword.
Pull it out if you can, if you dare a kingdom
awaits the steady
hands of a new butcher. I confess myself
unequal to the task.
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Author:Sakr, Omar
Publication:Prairie Schooner
Article Type:Poem
Date:Jun 22, 2018
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