– Poetry by Tala Abu Rahmeh – March 7, 2019
Winner of the Dreamers Writing Contest: Stories of Migration, Sense of Place and Home.
Do not tempt the sharks. Do not move your limbs horizontally or vertically. Do not hold on to pictures or passports or holy books (they will not save you). Do not scream into the water seeping into your breath. Do not hold on to your dead children. Do not scratch the edge of the rotting boat so it doesn’t wilt into your hands. Do not yell at the sky yaa Allah yaa Allah yaa Allah. Do not believe in miracles. Do not think of the torn skin of your town. Do not sing the national anthem. Pray to your dead mother. Pray to your grieving god. Let your knees go. Let your elbows go. Let your mouth go. Let your hands go. Let your lungs go. Let your feet go. Let your legs go. Let your stomach go. Let your neck go. Let your back go. Let your thighs go. Let your hair go. Let your voice go. Let your fear go. Let the sound of bombs go. Let the rubble on your chest go. Let your dead baby girl in a shroud, lips still pink, go. Let the sound of the athan go. Let your hunger go. Let the knot clutching your throat go. Let the woven dreams go. Let the poems about freedom go. Let your questions about injustice go. Let your now broken windows go. Let the soldiers who beat you against yellow walls go. Let the face of the love of your life go. Let fayrouz go. Trust that the ocean will transform your body into air, and remember as you close your eyes for the last time that drowning is so much better than burning.
About the Author – Tala Abu Rahmeh
Tala Abu Rahmeh is a writer and translator based in New York. Her poems have been published in many magazines and books including Naomi Shihab Nye’s Time to Let Me In, Only Light Can Do That Anthology by PENCenter USA, LA Review of Books, 20*20 magazine, Enizagam, 34th Parallel Magazine, Blast Furnace, The Timberline Review, Kweli, Sukoon and others. Her essays were published in “Beirut Re-collected,” published by Tamyras Publishers and available in both French and English, and her poem “Pomegranates” is forthcoming in “Ghost Fishing: An Anthology of Eco-Justice Poetry”. Her poem “Cape Cod,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can find her on her website www.talapoetry.com.
Read all the winning stories and poems from the 2019 Dreamers Writing Contest: Stories of Migration, Sense of Place and Home.
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