Maya Salameh

EULOGY WITH RED LIPSTICK

after yesika salgado

 

3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib v3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib ​you continue painting on your lipstick 

3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib red​3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib ​crimson​ 3aib 3aib ​cherry 3aib 3aib ​scarlet ​3aib ​blood red​ 3aib 3aib 3aib ​blood​ 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib ​maybe part of it is the pain​ 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib ​ensuring your mouth stays berry-stained​ 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib ​something about ​3aib​ slipping your bullet of choice into a handbag​ 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib ​you smile & split the Red Sea​ 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib    

you reapply your bruise ​3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib ​your burgundy perfume​ 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib ​your red like rubbing alcohol ​3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib 3a3aib 3aib 3aib 3aib ​you wear wine so well 

 

 

 

 

BELLYDANCE KINETICS

I have a brother who suns down the street. 

I stage. sashay. shimmy funerals 

down my sleeve. every spring 

 

a new casket. eventually el cajon 

will run out of ground. I have a brother who suns 

 

down the street. he watches me

sway. I am teaching him the alphabet.

my skirt gets caught in my heels. I waltz

water through wheels. shimmy. my hip 

drops

twice. three taps. I lean. I have a brother

 

who suns 

down the street. my ankle seeps ichor. beat

switch. I sweat. 

 

a body is just a corpse 

that hasn’t admitted it yet. I have a brother who suns down the street. 

 

I tried 

prison on. it 

didn’t fit.                                            every time I walk 

it jingles. I follow the coins 

 

in the crux of my bicep. my wingspan

must be at least forty feet. I have a brother

 

who suns down the street. my heart partitioned for stew 

                         meat. are you hungry? please 

eat.

RESCHEDULING

when I stand in

your room facing your scribbled

in chest its punctuations & notches 

the indentation of your throat I want to breathe 

you. you

smirk with the fabric of epochs 

& I unspool

the paradox of clocks. all

the coming generations wait for you to finish

speaking. your nose is 

shaded like cognac. the hours are 

liquid & I split my neck for ichor

to spill out by which I mean

all the way up to my voice box 

is gold. you tell me the sea

is your last surviving cousin. I chip 

the indigo polish off my nails in memoriam.

you line 

most things with kohl. I 

appreciate the precedent. you leave me 

like my investments class. I itinerary

you through the roof.

AN EXECUTION ALWAYS LASTS A LONG TIME

“which is closer to my heart, a soldier from my 

country or a poet from my enemy’s country?” (ghayath almadhoun)

 

wine aspires to age like me. all these complexes & no chemistry to show for it. I 

 

know nothing of my country. I 

 

pierce my ears with elegies. in the heart of the heart of another country, I 

 

remember my mother as the shade with which we pave the roads of holy books. I 

 

will write the last branch of the cedar in my floor, I 

 

will write of the price of bread. I 

 

scrape continents under my fingernails & I 

 

live a contradiction. back when the Dead Sea was alive & home was still an abstract

noun signifying desire, we had black currants for eyes, lace in our gums, before a

country meant a blur of bad news, a godforsaken geography, a gaping wound stitched

between the Tigris & Euphrates. eventually home becomes real & not just an abstract

noun signifying desire. chamomile cake is rising in the oven, gold manna in rectangular

gridlock; I 

 

bumped into reality & her water broke on the sidewalk. 

Maya Salameh is a Syrian-American poet and performer from San Diego. She is a 2016 National Student Poet, America’s highest honor for youth poets, and has performed her writing at venues including the Obama White House and Carnegie Hall. She is a poet fellow of the William Male Foundation and Leonard Slade Endowment. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in the Greensboro Review, Asian American Writer’s Workshop and Burningword Literary Journal. Her chapbook, rooh, is forthcoming with Paper Nautilus Press in 2020.