(Any/Where)

Here,

                        in my rolled-up shorts,
                        the أذان bellows besides
                        me.

                                                                        There,

                        across the ocean,
                        the house I just
                        called home, but

                                                                        here,

thirty minutes away
without traffic, my
father, probably

sleeping
soundly as in
snoring.

There,

back when,
Ramy tells me
I snore, but

here,

                        now, no one tells
                        me anything. I call
                        Teita and say:

                        I’m coming over
                        for إفطار and it is not
                        a conversation.

                                                                        There,

                        somewhere I know
                        only by memory, Mama
                        tells me she has found

                        a home in
                        Houston,
                        but

here,

my father cries
            at night and I cannot
            sympathize.

There,

I’m ruder
            in New York,
            but

here,

I’m more alive,
which is to say, more
prone to panic, more

likely to count
steps and taxi
meters.

There,

I said it and
felt good,
but

here,

I say everything
            with my skin. I twitch
            over سحور and that is how

 

I contribute
to conversation,
but

there,

Ramadan is just
YouTube and
an excuse to write.

There,

I twitch anyway
and no one
gets it.

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 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 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.

© 2023 by SMALL BRAND. Proudly created with Wix.com