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Raet Meets Me at Behoos

by Nour Kamel

If I cry on a cairo street alone tear my face apart like this city does kindness 
someone will demand I immediately stop tho
pull up the consolation of a chair from nowhere in the middle of the street
w kobayit shay1 loose leaf and sugar heaped.

Someone will say malik ya binti2 half exasperated
and I will be the universal daughter that Ra couldn't live without.
Someone shaped like mama will shove a shush and something sweetened
into my supplicant mouth that has forgotten every name for god except my own.

Someone I love, a woman, tells me I’ve lost weight                        wait like 
Where did I go What has hollowed me out and Have I done this to myself? 
Have I pulled the abaya3 tight to my body revealed the rolls of scripture
I keep only for myself, hastily hidden them for safety so well
I’ve forgotten how to pray to my body.

The sun god had only daughters, or wives, an either/or type mythology blurred
that Ra herself could get away with being more than one, grow herself fat for loving. 
Soon you won’t feel the ribs poke through, their shadow rippling underneath your skin 
every breath breakable.

I dream about crushing men who would eat me between my pillowy thighs, 
grow hair thick on air like I taught it it doesn’t need shit to live but my hands, 
grow body a colossus round and unsieged, unbent at soft knees.
Raet gives herself both names to survive in time, in fracture, she knew a part must be lost, 
a part attached to our names, that they’ll acknowledge all the labor our body endures.

Once I started believing it I could feel through my limbs those who glimpsed my beauty, radiated,
told me I was in their moment something rare they’d seen everyday
the sunrise confused for sunset at just the right moment, they caught
the clarity of me, knew I moved through the world like I moved it.
I am sun, god.

كوباية شاي 1

مالك يا بنتي 2

عباية 3

Photo courtesy of Kid Cairo
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