June and July

by Farrah Fray

June and July were Libya’s most beautiful daughters
They danced in the middle of Tripoli’s fervid streets
Above the soft shoulders of daffodils
Wondering why the brown tides of men
Were still asking the sky for another hit of warmth -

In Arabic, sunburnt was spelt “sun hit”
And in the summer,
pictures spelt out words
Maybe that was why
Children didn’t care for colouring books,

Cigarette smoke held hands with hot tea
And willingly approached hot lips, jokes,
Outstretched legs, stories where men
Danced with other women;
Stories haunted by the vigorous orthography of a dialect
that couldn’t describe lust gently
But persisted, lingered, laughed,
And watched women walking by
Billowing slowly, talking quietly
Women who wanted to scream in a language that wouldn’t let them,

June and July searched for words to give to their mother,
A hot country that was afraid of sunburns.


Farrah Fray is a writer, activist and poet studying in London by way of Libya. She has written for Kinguistics as well as Letters ly Libya and translated for Haawiyat, a Syrian comic aimed at refugees. Her work navigates explorations of culture, displacement, feminism and identity with a focus on Libya and London. Her latest poetry collection will be published in September 2017.

This work appears in Khabar Keslan Issue 0. MEDIUM.