We Are More: Two Poems by Sara Elkamel





Mediterranean, 2004

two girls, fifteen
            fresh from white sea
            undress below
            sweet water
            this time waves tumble
                        from above
                        these girls
                              an army of ants
                                     in every fold
                                     of white towel and wall
                                            their legs trail
                                                       shower to bedroom
                                                              wet towels
                                                                         around breasts
                                                                         these girls trail
                                                                         on ceramic tiles
                                                                         stains ceramic
                                                       perfect spheres
                                     wet girls trail
                              blood constellations
                              black curls
                        outlines of clouds across
                        ceramic sky
                        trail blood
            across god’s sky


October in Too Many Syllables

            a duplex after Jericho Brown

Before I loved you, the figs were still in season.
My body was a lone fig swollen like summer.

            My body was a lonely fig swollen like summer,
            In every dream as bottomless as shame.

To be naked in your dream is a sign of shame.
My father stood outside each dream with a key.

            All fathers keep keys to their daughters’ dreams,
            I learned in a meeting with the Architect of Dreams.

I woke cursing the Architect of Dreams.
I changed every lock & locked myself

            In the blueprints of pride. Love locked myself
            For a minute in a fall without light.

Like figs we fall a minute before daylight.
Before I loved you, the figs were still in season.



Rumpus original logo art by Mina M. Jafari.

Sara Elkamel (she/her) is a poet and journalist living between Cairo and NYC. She holds an MA in arts journalism from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry from New York University. Her poems appear in The Common, MQR, Four Way Review, Adroit Journal, Poet Lore, Poetry London, Best New Poets, Best of the Net, among others. She is the author of the chapbook “Field of No Justice” (African Poetry Book Fund & Akashic Books, 2021). More from this author →