“12.2 million tweets related to Syria since August 21st, and 19 million tweets about the VMAS in 1 day.”
She has come a long way.
Catholic statehood in her thigh gap,
She fears to be recognized.
For thirty days,
Selam trucks up the Nile transcontinental.
They tied her underneath a net,
In a caravan,
In hopes to go unnoticed by constabularies.
She is retreating her country,
For foreign soil.
Through recycled air,
She counts her breaths,
And her blessings.
She is alive, and
not taking this trip alone.
A 17 foot moving truck made only to haul
Approximately 6400 pounds
But with 307 people inside,
The odds are not in her favor.
On the way, people die of malnutrition.
What little food she had with her
was stolen in between slumber,
and she gnaws on head scarf for survival.
And she doesn’t even wear head scarves.
She is sister to Iraq,
And distant cousin of Israel.
The government does not care for her.
Her fresh-faced victims have fled from
the confines of Ankara and Amman,
Benghazi, Baghdad, Cairo.
All of their little life savings
Have been invested in Damascus.
They have left one war for another.
One more war,
And the next one will be free.
If you listen closely,
You can hear fear echo outside of her people.
It sounds a lot like Al-Assad.
If you question your government, set yourself on fire.
Half of her people worship Allah, the other half pretend to,
And one in 500 speak their thoughts loudly,
And never speak again.
She does not understand why they speak their thoughts so loudly,
And want to so bad.
Those with wings for feet keep on running, because they are too afraid of the cost to fly.
So they move under Islam,
Hide their Catholicism beneath hijabs and trade their
Peace be with you for Salaam Alaikum.
Crooked smiles escape faster than their summers do,
And her sun has faded.
But Syria did not emerge from Assad’s rib.
And just like rain comes heavy some days, even floods cannot mold a river.
This too shall pass.
Remind yourself that it’s temporary.
Don’t let the desert dry you up.
Soak in the Mediterranean.
Find your sun you daughter of the sea.
Your thighs were made for light to seep through,
Not to hide your religion in-between.
Never let them know the essence of your creativity.
Be as mysterious as God.
I will think of your ribcage, and imagine it full of
Mockingbirds and Jerusalem;
Where peace comes in three
So you will never go hungry,
Even in pieces.
Selam is Hello/Welcome in Arabic.
Oddly she is not a greeter,
Nor has a smile graced her face since leaving home,
And she tightly grips a set of four keys for three deadbolts around the cracks of her fingers.
The fourth key is a spare, in case she ever forgets what home looks like.
She removes her head scarf beneath closed curtains,
And bolted doors.
She lives her religion in hiding.
A cross for prayer hangs in the back of a mahogany closet past more hijabs.
I wonder what else she is trying to hide underneath her scarves.
Talk to her curtains.
They’ve seen more genocide than you have,
Then she allows herself to.
There are stories pouring out of shielded thread where Syrian spirits are cracked.
She sits in silence for peace to a nation of war like a woman in distress waiting for the voice of her distant lover…