step out of yourself
when you think
you are a colossal waste in time
distressed by the excessive features
hidden in your face that disintegrate
into whiteness

your favourite feature a nose
large and present min ‘immkun

you share cherries in your kitchen
spit the pits out into a white bowl
staining it a bright red
to match your bright teeth
cherry pieces stuck
in the spaces between

you slip into comfort
put on each other’s clothing
and play dress up together
an adult house that sometimes feels
more annoyed than playful

slips from your muscle memory
a word they’ve picked up
from small Arabic lessons late at night
two spoons continuously changing
positions when their hips start to ache
or your arm loses blood circulation

in your kitchen they don’t feel your
language the way your teta does
spring gardenia smells wafting
through her bright kitchen
the refrigerator buzzing
and her quick fingers
plucking parsley
aamilo maarouf
as she points
to the knife


Yesterday evening was a suspended break
touch each other the ways we would if unstressed

just for a second, lost in pretty mouth bites
easy bruises, fingers locked

in short hair darkness. Do you think
you could love me without my sex? My chest

a temporary stand in for another me, my nipple
pleasure dissociating, but your touch

so sweet. All day, finding ways to talk
about each other to others, not quite

what we want, not quite who we are, a stand in
for quiet moments in parks, heavy makeouts,

little lies told in fear. I tell you I’m angry
that I’m supposed to be angry and I’m not.

Our distance works it way through me, weight
on shoulders already weighted by others,

a weight I can no longer give words to,
like the sound just before a broken glass slips

through your fingers. I promise to touch you the ways
you want me to, express how I feel when I feel it,

not explode in the aftermath. Days later, you’ve forgotten,
but I’m still holding on. You see, I saw him everyday burning a hole

into her, and I’m just trying not to get burnt, trying to keep
myself whole. Will you try to shatter me?

Will you make me shatter you? This world needs more
resistance, this world is more than keeping still.

The final touch looks like a brush
and maybe that’s just enough for today.

ELI TAREQ LYNCH is a poet working in Montreal. Their work has appeared in the Puritan, Carte Blanche, the Shade Journal, The New Quarterly, The Best Canadian Poetry 2018 anthology, and elsewhere. They were one of the organizers of the Off the Page 2016 literary festival and participated in the Banff Centre’s ‘Centering Ourselves’ BIPOC residency.