the word

Poetry / Hazem Fahmy

In the beginning there was the word and it spat on me,
called my hair ineffable,
the brown of my eyes a wasteland to limp through.
I held the word in my palms,
felt it coolly ooze out and drop on my bare toes.
It wiggled its way around the bare floor,
an ocean of ceramic now slathered in civilization,
micro-beads for your thirst.

The word insults me,
breaks into my chest and uses the disjointed ribs for tooth picking.
The word took me to an opera, bought me blood-red wine,
slipped a drug into my drink,
and blamed me for laughing so hard.

I laughed so hard I could feel the bones the word took from my chest,
but I called the hollow holy;
a mosque at dawn.

The word didn’t take its shoes off when it walked into me.
I still brought it rusting buckets of water,
asked it to clean up proper before prayer.
The word obeyed only to dry itself with a mus’haf.

Me and the word got into a fight and it won,
stood over me, fists covered in blood.
I opened my mouth only to find that my voice, too, was stolen.

Hazem Fahmy is a poet and critic from Cairo. He is currently pursuing a degree in Humanities and Film Studies from Wesleyan University. 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. His debut chapbook, Red//Jild//Prayer, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press September 2017. 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.