National Poetry Month Day 14: George Abraham


George Abraham is a Palestinian-American Poet, Activist, and Engineering PhD Candidate at Harvard University. He is the author of two chapbooks: al youm (the Atlas Review, 2017), and the specimen’s apology (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019). His poetry and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Rattle, Washington Square Review, Mizna, Puerto del Sol, and anthologies such as Bettering American Poetry, Nepantla, and the Ghassan Kanafani Palestinian Literature Anthology. You can find him on Twitter/Instagram @IntifadaBatata.


maqam of moonlight, for the wandering
to be read from right to left, after Marwa Helal

a ask to –       blood of conjuring a is desire of know i what
&     sweat its in humid   listless it was or     me of nation tired
– deviance quantum &   stochasticity own its in   lost      : entropy
carries it    blood the hence &    design its through thing a name to learned we
type what – is it night of type what on depending    to or   –      on preys &
carries      air the humid      heavy of

relics  fragile    before    you like    men ruined i’ve , yes
count body my    marked i   catacomb brief a chest    themselves of
lose    never beast this lest    erosion refusing   scar it let &    nails brittle with
made he caverns the    forget or ,marrow of    dry sucked    bones of count
endless &    unexplored    perimeters its in even yes : flight    refusing skeletons of
planet             this heart      sweet  reach   beyond stratosphere or  body as
– us of both the for    claustrophobic     too is


on unraveling

i never wanted                          to unlove you
like this: trees                  shivering thread-
bare in fracturing              chill; faint body
shadows            dancing         behind subway
lights like              drifting                   ghosts;
the city            undressing                itself
of you          like a music            -less season –
i have never known             winter this
intimately.     Here’s the street      we waltzed
in huddled        coats, our breaths,   intertwining
smoke             vortices, i only wanted    someone
to inhale        the substance           of me – to make
Atlas of       your hands & tear down      my sky in
slow motion;       snowflakes      pirouetting, chaotic
axes – i loved best the flurry          of you. Every time
i’d empty myself           of your memory, the distance
frostbit          my lungs & i      would make sanctuary
of your bed,     becoming constricting      throat &
tachycardia       again – here’s the        train station
you first abandoned          me to meet her, like you
didn’t hear        glass screaming       on your way
out; here’s      the window     i almost   embraced
too lovingly       & became      the snow       -fall;
here’s          the street i first     imploded on you for
the devil       you fell in        love with        & i get
it – we all       have to         dance with       demons
to find         God in         ourselves        & maybe that’s
the only     way i know     how to love –    to give my
self, blessed               sacrifice, to a       God of
unraveling hands;     most holy      inconvenience,
i found home         in your type    of empty. By which
i mean,              i found myself     in you & i know you
intended        none of this; God    of scalding fingers
& emerging     firestorm; you,    who resurrected
me from         my own tomb,     gauze wrapped & blood
-stained, i know     you didn’t mean     to kill me. You
were 2 years of         trauma & arms    i could die in;
there’s praise       in being held so     tightly i almost felt
human again. In warmth     expelling winter’s loneliness
from my architecture.              In the infinitesimal
fragment of you       that lives     & swells in me; It
sings to me         some nights.       A lullaby that
could numb    a warfront quiet;    there’s resistance in
that. This pulsing             riot. Maybe i loved best the
rebellion of us;                two diasporas folding
into each other            in a single bed frame, ashes
to ashes, dust to        dust; still here
we’re still                 breathing –

Original poetry published by The Rumpus. More from this author →