neighboring bodyflowers

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-11-33-07-pm

2 orabi st, cairo. third floor

my mother tells my sister and i to draw the blinds nice and tight before we

undress.

i tell her i’ve seen auntie jamila give baby a bath from across the street. and uncle khalid from the second floor always hangs his undies out to dry. mama did you know that the lebanese couple four floors up have tattoos on their arms? i’ve seen em when they step out to the balcony to water their lavender. and also i—

stop.

my mother says that

this is different that

i am a young woman that

my body

is a

beautiful secret.

 

at thirteen i felt

 

like a lotus flower

blossoming in

reverse

— ∇ —

318 E 15th st, new york city. eighth floor 

neighbors here are frag

—mented

often the lady on the

fifth floor across the street

extends a slim arm

through her red-framed window

a cigarette dangling

from her fingers.

 

i have also seen

shoulders. elbows. half-faces

blocked by cellphones and lovers

 

and the man in the

building to my left

enjoys his rooftop in the snow

but even then

all i see?

hooded figure

satellite

loneliness.

 

sometimes

i dance

for the man in the snow

beg

for a drag on the lady’s cigarette

perform

for myself. for my body. this body. THIS BODY

 

that is not

secret. or whisper. or gentle spring breeze

 

it is winter

i am thunder

 

outward upswing i swear this tastes like growth.

 

at nineteen i feel

 

like a full

neighboring

bodyflower

 

in an endless stretch of gardenlimb.

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