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Confessions Ghazal

The aunties follow me with their eyes, each a curious tongue

I ash through a hello, I hide behind a smile and a sweet tongue

I shove the night where I store shame which is where I store goodness

I convince myself I’m another, I fragment in the daylight and beg its god to accept my tongue

Listen, I was born into ember, the culture follows me, insecure and beautiful,

presses its body against my dust and asks me to remember its tongue

and it takes me years and years until I don’t flinch to the prayer call

My friends hear it and they don’t run, still how many nights have I wished for another tongue,

wished for shameless imperfection and fearless embrace of desire; in secret

I kiss the holy book and it blushes, and god asks for me one evening, a confession on his tongue


Nardine Taleb is an Egyptian-American writer, speech therapist, and Prose Editor of the online literary journal Gordon Square Review based in Cleveland, Ohio. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Passengers Journal, Emerge Literary Journal, and others. She is a Brooklyn Poets fellow. You can find her at the following social media platforms: Twitter: @nardineta / IG: @nardineta