“Myopic” by Nahrain Al-Mousawi

Nahrain Al-Mousawi


My mother wants
Custody over my tactlessness, my nonsense
And whatever else comes out of my mouth

So that she can stick it in a frame and
Prop it up on her sewing table

But fancy needlework has ruined her eyes and
The Muslim women who pay her for
Embroidering and beading
The eyelet and fringe of their scarves are
Sisters whom she will see
In Paradise
So she doesn’t complain

Instead her eyes blur dreams of scarves
With no top and no bottom
Endless hem wind-clapping
Falling like a pretense
A protective tarpaulin
Furiously screening me
From my father’s arms

Her own plans
To cross me over her chest
And make some sense out of me

from Rattle #22, Winter 2004


Nahrain Al-Mousawi: “In pre-Islamic times, an Arab woman poet—a ‘poetess’—recited verses urging tribes of men to pulverize the enemy on a battlefield littered with bodies. Today I sit tapping away at my laptop in an apartment littered with ashes and empty cigarette packs where I’m killing no one but myself. The pacifist in me thinks that my scenario is nobler. But in all honesty, a larger audience like hers wouldn’t hurt.” (website)

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