Meaning

 

 
 
for George
 
 
I am tired of summoning my heritage out of a battered magician’s hat.
Yaani, there are times I reach for history and come up empty.
Yaani, it feels wrong to sing for my supper with a ghost’s mouth.
Yaani, I have come to love belonging nowhere, I priest absence.
Yaani, this mo(u)rning I arranged a bouquet for my other half.
Yaani, I can multitask longing in every direction.
Yaani, when you can give directions to a stranger, you are home.
Yaani, when I planted a kiss on an Adam’s apple I entered Eden.
Yaani, I know what it is to be expelled and fear it more than anything.
Yaani, I taste the apple anyway. I am thrown every time.
Yaani, the snake has no gender. I swallow the whole pregnant length.
Yaani, to create a garden is to make a border. Even beauty is walled.
Yaani, I refuse to make ugliness a refugee. Let them stay.
Yaani, do not draw fixed lines around my origin. I came from water.
Yaani, there are waves resonating ever outward. Forget the dirt.
Yaani, meaning Arabs are forever
          transmuting tongue into ocean         to say we are here.
 
 
 

 

Omar Sakr is an Arab-Australian poet. His debut collection, 'These Wild Houses', was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and the Kenneth Slessor Prize. His new collection, The Lost Arabs (2019), is forthcoming with UQP.