The Cartographer did not have this in mind


Two passports to leave /one to return

The homeland of my heart / is a ghost

playing saz / on a rooftop

In the billowing night / Home prickles at my skin

Ears swallow and strain/ The admixture of language/ Arabs in arabic/ Arabs in american/

Two seas separated / by a seam


On a plane-ride to pine nuts / and cherry picking

The flight attendant runs my foot/ With her juiced cart / I kick and land / in a desert as large

as my imagination/

They stamp my book /

with useless geometry / Home becomes a dense fog / an undercooked hamburger

pushed to the edge / of a paper plate


Once at this hipster / bar in detroit / I am interrupted / per usual / a man praising /

my survival /  “It’s so progressive / Of you /

writing  / your thoughts / down

In a place/ like / this”

Another disconnected flight / Over the atlantic/ The pilot / declares judgement day/  I use the dull / kitchen knife /Under my seat

As flotation/ I cut my hair/ as offering/ to land anywhere/ solid


My documents fight / cage match dirty/

in my suitcase/ garbage foams at the zipper / my bribes don’t work / stagnation as barb-wire/ borders

My bags are overweight / the counter girl warns / that next time / a blood price /

resembling chemical attacks / and crying

/ will be required / for re-entry


The agent interrogates/ randomly selects /my sheet music / finds smuggled/

sumac and flowers in my suitcase /

a brochure with green & yellow flags

hide my underwear /

“did anyone talk to you” / Yosemite Sam mustache asks me

/ “Only in English” / is my somber reply /

so they recruited you/

not very well /

you’re free to go /


Yasmine Rukia is a Lebanese-American experimental poet, professional social justice bore and the reigning meme queen of Metro Detroit. Her hot takes exploring the nexus of arabesque america, womxnhood, taboo, islam and pop culture blurring the lines between fiction and futurism can be found on PaperMag, TheRedFez, Cliterature, Jaffat El-Aqlam, and others, including her IG theflowerofcarnage.