» Poetry

Surviving//Skin

In America, I imagine

Noah after the flood; see

his old hands burrow

 

into the land, the lost

parent finds his child. Dalida

and Fairuz and Imam all sing

 

of the land, but I know

not the difference between soil

and skin. Still, I swallow whole

 

that which does not love me. In New Cairo,

I lost God. In Old Cairo, I pray

to concrete and hanging wood. My mother texts me.

 

Today, it is 41 degrees Celsius

in all of Cairo. I ignore white people

who try to explain Fahrenheit.

 

Connecticut makes me

grateful for the weather

back home. I am puzzled

 

by New England

architecture. I have no windows

to pray to. February in this country

 

numbs my fingers, makes me

forget where my blood

flows. I spit extra hard

 

at the ground when it’s snowing

and I’m smoking just to spite whiteness

itself. I’m still around. I can leave

 

a mark. Even as I kill myself

I am still surviving

you.

Hazem Fahmy

Hazem Fahmy is a poet and critic from Cairo. He is an Honors graduate of Wesleyan University’s College of Letters where he studied literature, philosophy, history and film. His debut chapbook, Red//Jild//Prayer won the 2017 Diode Editions Contest and is forthcoming in 2018. 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. He is a reader for the Shade Journal, a poetry editor for Voicemail Poems, and a contributing writer to Film Inquiry. 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.