In Which All Language Fails My Gender by Hazem Fahmy

(after Safia Elhillo)

         How dare I
         use a pronoun
         that doesn’t exist
         in Arabic?


         under this skin,
         melody of blood moon
         and open sea—sails
         so wide, I break
         the wind, wield
         the water, become
         island of flesh
         and fag: weather
         the sound
         of sunrise, satin
         all over like
         sand, but


         under harsh
         suns, sharp
         tongues call me
         out of my name,
         numb the night
         out of me, cast
         my bones
         in cold light.
         is no name
         for this no man’s land
         I have become,
         so I try
         to translate.

Hazem Fahmy is a poet and critic from Cairo. He is an Honors graduate of Wesleyan University’s College of Letters where he studied literature, philosophy, hisory, and film. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in Apogee, HEArt, Mizna, and The Offing. His performances have been featured on Button Poetry and Write About Now. He is a poetry editor for Voicemail Poems and a contributing writer to Film Inquiry. In his spare time, Hazem writes about the Middle East and tries to come up with creative ways to mock Classicism. He makes videos occasionally.

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