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Narcissus by Nour Kamel

What did Echo do for you to hate her?

The men who mimic him crawl on their bellies into your life woo and fawn and kiss your haired legs proclaiming love only to disdain you when it reciprocates, blooms

bonded together, now you can’t imagine having that respite of loneliness, of longing for anyone else. He says

you are the pond he would let himself drown in, everything he says and does marks a lovedrenched man all yours.

But he has many ponds, his tongue smooth and aggressive never feeling gently for yours, always spincycling, you dance with someone only keen on domination, lips

as if interchangeable both belonging to his desire.

You grab in the dark pooling wetness for anything, fishing without bait without foreplay without asking how

to eat you out, does so with fervor only ever for him,

for the nonaudience of you playing convinced of his loving only you, until you’re both drowned in the dramatic irony of it. Echo loved him too much when it was never about that,

who falls in love with just how a person looks anyway - I fell in love with your distance, that you didn’t need me desperately, until you got used to the shape I imprinted and devoted to you, lungs full, drowning before your turn-eye love, gasping to give you all there was of me.

But, Narcissus, it was never going to be enough, was it?


NOUR KAMEL (she/they) writes and edits things in Egypt. Their chapbook ‘Noon is part of the New-Generation African Poets series and their writing can be found in Anomaly, Rusted Radishes, Ikhtyar, Sukoon, 20.35 Africa, Sumou and Mizna. They helped create and facilitate writing workshops at the Contemporary Image Collective which led to the publication of The Taste of Letters / طعم الحروف and Our Bodies Breathe Underwater / أجسادنا تتنفس تحت الماء.


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