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BLOOD & SEEDS by Mariam Fayez


Rainbow sits on the windowsill between grey.

Like the man wearing a galabaya in front of another grey building,

sipping the same overly sweetened tea for centuries.

Mangled feet. Thuggish streets. Tangerines for breakfast.

He tells me his P’s are as heavy and hard as the British officers who beat his father

in 42’. “Bleaze, sit down” he says, and I do not correct him.

At night there are no trees, only the smell of charcoaled cinnamon

over half-smoked Hookah pipes. The stray cats encircle a café

leaving trails of teenage grins and calls for the girls with loose hair.

The sound of a Fiat 600 backfiring vibrates into my ribs.

Sometimes they are gunshots. The women don’t think

twice, using its side view mirror to adjust the bobby pins planted into their head scarfs.

On the road there is a crescendo of screaming chickens

ready to be slaughtered for Eid, and fed to aching mouths of children spilled

into the streets like Pomegranate seeds.

I turn my eyes not knowing,

if its animal or human blood on the sidewalk. In the Revolution I learned from the body with the open skull, that they both smell the same.


It is winter now. I am afraid of sitting beside the grey for too long

that I might become it. The sugar cane she left in my spine is losing its chartreuse

but July will come once again and I will remember me.


My mother sits me between her thighs and caresses my gazelle ears.

She grates my cheeks like the bateekh we eat by the Mediterranean in Alexandria,

she says my sweetness makes her pray to multiple Gods.


MARIAM FAYEZ is the Scorpio you kept secret from your parents, but she is also an Egyptian poet living in Brooklyn. She is an MFA candidate in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College, NY. Her work has appeared in the Eunoia Review, and NYU Confluence. ​


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