it is the summer after my spleen almost ruptured into the stain of a thousand sunsets: i am sitting in a therapist’s office & she asks me to start at the moment i wanted to die from my own hands: i could have painted her this body in all its failed topologies: i haven’t a home that isn’t in love with the way it floods: but instead, i gave her a history lesson: 1967 the west bank is annexed by israel after nakba: catastrophe: my grandparents: exile: in their own home: when i say, anxiety stretches continents: when i say depression is an ocean we never wanted to traverse: fast forward 1988: my aunt falls in love with a woman twice her age: finds mother in her after her own grieved a stolen country: decades of abuse from a husband with fists: in his blood: when she comes out they ask if she needs to see a therapist: a nice woman to excise this demon in her: fast forward today: a stranger with fists in his blood makes a growing country of my organs & i cannot love myself: or perhaps it was all a topology lesson: a stranger who cannot recognize me: tells the class of exact sequences: how topological spaces inherit the shape of their emptiness from previous generations of dimensions: a whole lineage of singularities: & at this point i too wanted to disappear: in the office of this therapist: who was perhaps a topologist: who asks me so what shape does this anxiety take inside of you? & i wanted to say tooth of a mouth: eye of a hurricane in my chest: organ with vast chambers haunted by their own empty: & so much blood it can almost be mistaken for a country: newfound inheritance: atheism found at the intersection of 3 merciless gods: do you pray still? why have you stopped praying? the therapist asks & perhaps the therapist is my mother: the one who found god at the bottom of liquor bottles the color of bloodied oceans: the hands that prayed for a son who left in search for home: desire, swelling in him like a ruptured organ: father, forgive me my drunk inheritance: forgive the stairs that collapsed beneath the weight of me: forgive the third floor window that tried to swallow me into the night’s mouth: forgive the bodies i swallowed like broken teeth: the knees i spent trying to summon god in my own mouth: forgive my DNA strands for they are sculptors of brief suicides in this body: i’m trying to love the shattered window of myself: the hands: the rocks: the broken religion left behind: my inheritance is a body of vandalized cathedrals: light me on fire: strip my god from my breath: watch as i dance amidst the flames:
George Abraham is a Palestinian-American Poet, Activist, and Engineering PhD Candidate at Harvard University. He is the author of two chapbooks: al youm, winner of the Atlas Review’s 2017 chapbook contest, and the specimen’s apology (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019). He is the recipient of fellowships from Brooklyn Poets and the Watering Hole, the honor of “Best Poet” at the 2017 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational, the Lois Morell Poetry Prize, and a three-time recipient of the Favianna Rodriguez Award for Artistic Activism. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl, Apogee, Kweli, Anomaly, Hawai’i Review, and anthologies such as Bettering American Poetry, Nepantla, and the Ghassan Kanafani Palestinian Literature Anthology.