Maya Salameh


I take the mosh pit, lime 
Juuls on hardwood, the nice 
smelling white girls wearing 
hoops just big enough 
to be questionable, tired 
metaphor of me limericking 
your belt loops. you speak 
like the halted development 
on Madison & a kidney 

is just an organ 
with an important job. in catechism 
they told us Saint Barbara 
fled her steeple, read 
all the forbidden books. the luxury 
towers on Park shimmer. we 
were told this was revolutionary – 
a girl cornering God 
in a cramped room, 
availing herself of him
in the dark. we watch 
cranes smear the horizon & 
a jellyfish, even when determined, 
is really just a blot of ink. I was 
raised to love resurrected things 
& the junior college across the street 
is full of juiceboxes, blue 
pens, puritan dreaming. like opium, 
you smile for no reason. like homily, 
I sing for us both.



func(fraction) your grandmother is a quarter Armenian &
your father once denied he was from
Trablos. we are not really “Arab.” who is really “from”
func(weight)I was always a skinny girl ÷ we fry yolks
on pavement
func(loop)desire is an old family heirloom none
of the women in my wall
approximately jacarandas on my dress
func(autopsy)my mother in her emerald swimsuit
func(anaphora)clothes are about waiting growing
into the jacket coat sweats
func(Thomas)jiddo the numismatist & me quarter the
girl I should be ÷ I make odalisques in
the mirror I cover my face in yolk
func(fraction)I am an approximation of jacarandas
func()clothes are about waiting my baptism
name is Maryam
func(sacrament)the priest wrings the solar system from
my mouth


Maya Salameh is a poet fellow of the William Male Foundation and a 2016 National Student Poet, America’s highest honor for youth poets. She is the winner of the 2022 Etel Adnan Prize, through which her debut poetry collection, HOW TO MAKE AN ALGORITHM IN THE MICROWAVE, will be published in 2022. Her poems have appeared in POETRY Magazine, The Rumpus, and Asian American Writer’s Workshop, among others. Maya is the author of rooh (Paper Nautilus Press 2020).