Sara Elkamel

All my life I wanted to be a gift to the Nile
after Ocean Vuong 


i

Tell me it was for love 
& nothing else. For love is the body’s way of asking for more 

than it can take.

i

I’ll tell you how I once saw myself with your chest. How one night, after 
you died
a sixth time, we got up to make green lentils, and the grilled cheese I like 
& I stood there washing dishes until my fingers pruned 
and the rest of me 
pruned. 

It was then I learned that in the wrong skin, a woman is like water 
looking itself in the mirror.

i

In an earlier life, you could tell you were
a person
because when you walked into a body of water, 
your genitals
would mean nothing to a god called Hapi. 

Some days I am Hapi.
Some days I am a woman drowning. 

HATE
after LOVE, by Tina Chang 

I am haunted by how much our fathers do not know. How a revolution fails because of its titillated dreams, tented chants. My father does not know I have a body I cannot feel or see or – god forbid – touch. Where would I touch a body. The skin possesses me. Without it I would float into a cloud and cease to exist. My father is now pilling coal onto our bad grill. When I was a child he loved home videos and took pictures I don’t remember posing for. He filed them away as if they had never been. How I hungered for his smile, hyper-aware of the passing of time in each version of my childhood. I am his daughter. This is certain. I have a body I cannot feel or see or – god forbid – touch and maybe this poem is my real revolution, my blood is my blood, or is it stolen from my father and running through mine? If I were a delusion you could say my countenance was a flickering album of nothing but lies, or an expression unwinding like a reel into a ceaseless river in another life. Does truth matter when it’s screamed aloud or swallowed in silence? The answer to this makes all the difference.

Sara Elkamel

Sara Elkamel is a freelance journalist and poet, living between Cairo and New York. She holds a Master of Arts in culture journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The GroundTruth Project, Ahram Online, Guernica, Riwayya, and elsewhere.

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