Hazem Fahmy

What a rush it was / to speak empire / at such a young age.

Rehearsal for the New World

Hours before the TV, my mouth
agape, repeating after every American cartoon
endlessly. Call it a meditation;
.
was I not emptying my mind
of language? Mouthing every syllable,
like prayer–God, make me a true
.
American,
i.e. invisible, yet
ever-present.
.
What a rush it was
to speak empire
at such a young age. Later,
.
I am asked: how did you get
this accent? Once, I feared
the other end of that question. Once
.
across the world, I learned
the danger of carrying a country
in your throat, so I did not speak
.
until I made sure
I could not be heard.

Hazem Fahmy is a Pushcart-nominated poet and critic from Cairo. He is currently pursuing his MA in Middle Eastern Studies and Film Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. His debut chapbook, “Red//Jild//Prayer” won the 2017 Diode Editions Contest. A Kundiman and Watering Hole Fellow, his poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming in Apogee, AAWW, the Boston Review and The Offing. His performances have been featured on Button Poetry and Write About Now. He is a reader for the Shade Journal, and a contributing writer to Film Inquiry.

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