The Poetry Project

Maha Ahmed

Ars Poetica

In the summer of false beginnings, I flew cageless: I watched
a pigeon pick apart and devour a dragonfly, its wings flapping,
still, in holographic light. Then I understood humans

build entire highways by hand. I still hated my body,
was recovering from an Adderall overdose when they brought
Robin Coste Lewis to talk about Death, the Self, etc.

Besides designer drugs, I watched florid men drink
to oblivion. When a city imploded, I wrote hard
about trees. In workshop, the Arab Spring was considered

extraneous or overrated. Nakba Day was an opportunity
for the white kids to stay silent. I never homed
another tongue, not even my own. Like a child,

I planned to escape before seeing redemption in a boy’s
throbbing thigh. Poetry helps us live our lives (Stevens).
Do we trust that? No one reads poetry except the poets.

Aimless, we lust after the sound of pigeons
scraping through the wings of a dragonfly.

Meditation for Lack of Emergency

I still like difficulty. When asked about my work,
I lie. Can you die from humiliation? (Most things I do just to prove I can.)
My mother doesn’t dream of me. I’m spilled milk, the blunt of a spoon.
Even my softly curled demons are ashamed to claim me, body buzzing
from lack of dance. I found God (again) recently, desperate as a pile of sand.
The Prophet (PBUH) was an ordinary man spinning ideas against
the dough of a cave. A reminder to ask better questions. Most truths
bend loose at the nail; beauty fastens when we look away.
This house is yellowing from the inside, and I have fooled myself again.
I tried to listen. (I’m here, aren’t I?) I welcomed like a window:
logging the unremarkable is actually good, is actually love.

Issue 17