Work of the Week: noor ibn najam

the summer i added stars to my name

wrong, maybe, she says she knows me.
it’s been years and we love
each other by ritual

treats on the beach. lemonade with mint
and roses. selfies and she tries
to set me

up with the waiter. i look
queerer than last summer. she won’t say it, just look

what you’ve done to your hair. auntie Nuha approves
of my french. auntie Nuha says work

on my arabic. sucks teeth at my reading
cups after sipping

only god knows. i want to know
why she bought me a hookah

which is also haram
to fly home
with me when i leave her lips

turn, as if a smile
were a string
pulled through itself

so a kitten could sleep
or jacob could have

a ladder to climb. or i
in my pastel overalls.
wrong, this summer of sunsets

spent drinking coffee
and lemonade, her mouth moves to home
a family of blue glass

ghosts. she lets me hold her
beads in my palm. i have never fasted
for a month

which troubles me. beads declare the starlight
of their names by doing

the bump. my mother and sister
are listening to sly

and the family stone. one against
another, god turns

my fingers sapphire with the weight

noor inn najam is an experimental poet and editor. she thinks the truth exists. she’s a fellow of Callaloo, Pink Door, and The Watering Hole. her work has been published with Belladonna* Chaplet Series, Muzzle, ANMLY, and others. her chapbook, PRAISE TO LESSER GODS OF LOVE, was published by Glass Poetry Press in 2019.

Comments are closed.