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by Razan Abdelsalam

I see my grandmother, Omkalthoum

In all her glory.

The scars on her plump cheeks,

Indents on soft honey skin.

A manifestation of valor,

They are marks of our past.

It is sacred,

A country strong.


I long for the days sitting at her feet,

Tea served, and the ice-cream man honking his horn.

Of dining table gatherings,

The smell of kisra and mullah travelling across the room.

Of Brides with hands painted black, and red veils.

Chairs as accessories to a home, and knees on grounds.

The stories of my grandfather Salah,

A wise man, like the ones before him.

A house filled with tooth gaps like my own,

Brown eyes and laughter.


These days I ache for.


   The night we left, I kissed her cheek.

“Ma’alsalama omi”

Goodbye, mother.


I wish to turn back.

Before our family plot was filled with ghosts of my past.

Before the night in the living room when I heard my father scream for his nephew.

Before I knew death does not care for the age of its prey.


Back to the days sitting at her feet.

About this Project

Enjoy the written works of Black creators! These works were submitted by community members during 2022's Black History Month. Through poetry and prose, engage with the region's diverse Black experiences in all their diversity and complexity.

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