Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Dreaming of Stockholm

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Dreaming of Stockholm

Article excerpt

I was born in a country whose borders

dissolve like effervescent tablets scraped

into the Mediterranean, its territory stretching

like a piece of dry skin between the pillar-horns

of Isis to the Dead Sea's warm toes,

and whose people dream of fiords, freedom, and fellows

craned over the city of Stockholm

thickening in Märsta.

When I say Stockholm,

I imagine a ripe orange, its bitter tang

frothing on the tongue in a dessert

prepared for celebration. I imagine

a child extending her arm and hand,

a ripe fruit awakened pink in the cup of her palm

like a sunrise biting the day to stretch the dark horizon.

When the boats and the trains tie coasts to shores

to capital cities, hands to supermarket carts,

and fleshed-out bodies to refugee yellow tents,

I see the gulf swallowing dust

and the railway tracks digging their ore

back into the mountain's backbone.

Church bells rung for peace sound like a game

we played in my backyard, where sitti

picked piles of lentils apart from piles of sand.

Crimson saffron dreams come to me to remind

me that what's written in my lucky passport

passes through red ink like blood,

the way the seaweed passes through fish,

in the gut,

there where being is closest to bone. …

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