Going Home

by Leena Aboutaleb

Cotton velvet in green, FabricUK.

Cotton velvet in green, FabricUK.

de / construct 

literature into spaces
scrawled on finger/bones 
between guest beds 
tore through across bloodstained streets 

collapse on back

heard tears heard cries heard falling heard the shot

v a s t theysaidlimitlessinfinitelimitfinite


de / construct[ed] roman
ruins marble sheets on rusted metros 

— bang/bang/bang—   — —

took M line; no sorry,

grabbed line 1 towards sadat sadxt sadnt [mubarak]

fit in space theysaidinfinite

take the velvet out of the blackwash stars stolen hung across your wall [christ]

hiding in between planets look for solace and ancient gods 

grab patches grab patches to de / construct space 

take it in between your fingers they never said it slips, drips out like water from between

the rooms in your hands

take the infinity and roll it into sleeves like carpets mama made you clean on dusty rooftops

did you forget where you came from?

took our letters all [ر‭ / ‬ج‭ / ‬س] under tongue write this in 

i said to de / construct the stars you stole left ‘em hanging struckstarstruck

evaporated space like milk for teashay don’t grow na3na3 for this one but

you plucked it out, roots hung from nothingness 

leafs sprout in space too, you know. 

de / construct black patches velvet stains pluck out sun reflects from fabric brush off moon dust dust that sticks dust like your city dust that builds ashwaeyat in skins grown between olives in olive trees i said i’d rather be skinned from orange or fig trees but they said no choice, sorry, no choice they said

let em borrow spaces, you stole it anyways, but the dust builds and the sun reflects can you tell? can you see? can you hear? collapsing states along inner thighs. 

want to hear you scream, he said. want to hear you, he said. took voice from throat washed his body in your moans, this is the sweetest, this is the sweetest, breast in mouth eshta2talk fash5

embroider velvet patches makeshift tents holding secrets in between rings of planets bounce off one to another grab hold of the dyed velvet this is space hadi kol shi hadi kol shi

sorry if you don’t speak arabic, some things are easier to say in teeth grown in mouth lips torn stainedstrainedstained covered in metro bumps 


universe melted in palm trees and your palms lines in hands made rivers you swim in yourself you swim in yourself he lifts your legs you are sowing together velvet patches they are the night sky dips in crevice the hollow space between throat and collarbones meteor crash site 

fell asleep on a star’s bed--kef? don’t you know they get greedy? they sleep during the day play hide and seek from down under under there on the days you occasionally look down all you see is sand remember how it felt in the spaces of your body hothothot desert girl desert girl who are you kidding? 

you stole space, stole it stole it and you let it swim over your body wrapped around your skin ate dates and didn’t want to look down anymore remember his arms wrapped around waist remember mama’s soft hands remember baba’s crinkled eyes in his smiles remember crumbling streets and infinite laughter 

they said infinite, mu

stars stare wonder why you’re all the way up here

she can’t run away for long she’s got no air and all dates 

she keeps swimming though haven’t you seen bends in with light fractures I don’t think she’s 


are you grateful? 

brown girl brown girl brown girl line your eyes properly nefertiti grew 

herself from your skin in olives in olive trees, sorry not orange or fig trees, sorry

do you wonder why they call your name? 

infinite sky can’t wrap around you not like mama’s carpets 

you keep trying to hold onto it all but space drips, melts from the empty rooms in your fingers 

rinses itself out of human hands you’re left with the sun kissing your skin [home] 

dust coating palms and cracking palm trees [home]

sha3rik nefs illon as space curls tangle in their cold winds [not home] 

maybe now is time to go home/ go home, go home 

roman ro/man you fall out of space, arab girl, the sun kisses you goodbye 

you feel it warm your skin more than ever before

the stars won’t fall with you they stay upright the ones you stole 


unstitched the sky velvet patches in hands 

collapsed states along inner thighs 

Leena Aboutaleb