these days it has been eight years

since the sky of the mother above me

the homeland should be moving into concept,

i should no longer smell it, see the grey brick

in all the corners of ‘here’

the homeland should be the yellow site of a wound

half assimilated into skin—

i am afraid to think it is, i am afraid to think

i could forget you

maybe at the decade mark, i will unfeel u

under what is and has been a millennium of its own.

my throat will no longer be lined with the dirt road


but it seems you are here, too: there is no haunting,

it inhabits me, my chest has opened

brandished w the number 4

growing pomegranate trees out of my side

there is the cave reaching out of my mouth,

serving up hand rolled cigarettes

and a great grandmother’s hidden dishes out on my tongue.

i smell like gasoline barrels at 5am

my feet would like to touch you, transfer that world back into you,

so i can stand on the porch when everyone is asleep,

when the mother sky is orange with midday and not with grief

or with shrapnel or with nothing or or or or or or


(i wish i didn’t end every poem with return. after i leave the page,

i must begin the regrowth of that world, the one grass patch

leading to the porch

it is useless, ugly work—recreating a home, endless)


Author’s Bio

talah e. is a syrian muslim poet and performance artist. lately, their work has diverged from centering violence, trauma, and loss to exploring possibilities of healing and joy, as well. they wish to be rid of the romanticized nostalgia expected of those in exile; to reunite with complication, and memory.