Metal Bed, Foreign Lisp, Establishments

By Saria Khalifa


Metal Bed, Foreign Lisp, Establishments


Mother tongue
I try to claim it
but it won’t

flatten to
gh, 3’

that is
to pin down.

I was denigrated
to the status of

because the
soft lisp
I put in jeem.

Say it again,
say university
I am unable

to hold on to
the diction
I use here.

Jama’a is all
I can softly lisp.

pulls the word
to the tip of
my tongue:

Its strength carries
all its connotations.

I hear
and I cry

at the memory
of it protruding
from your tibia,

your fibula,
your patella.
All words

in any language
were shoved
out my mouth

by the vividness
of that memory.
Everything that came

after, was simply
blur as we
only remember

it as over, now.
Except for the

every three months.
You clamber on
to metal bed and

are irradiated
by a beam
of memories.

metal bed.
We can’t squeeze in.

three months
you leave

in the morning,
and speechless we
in our, various positions

mentally lie
hospital mode.

At times we
would play pool:
you dragging

IV stand behind.
In the beginning
we let you win.

Reminded again
we sat every
three months

and four days
in consultation.
You would grab

pool stick,
badger me
‘one game’

you knew
you would win.
At the end

of finished hospital
shifts all but you
would go home.

Three months
and we are

My crooked
tongue brought
here, by


it had time
to straighten

itself out.
Here where
everything is

I silently

in all the
I know.



Dear God


Dear God,

Let him be the one who shines a light

because I am tired of carrying the torch now.

Olympic arms grown heavy now.


And it is not the loss of love I mourn;

it is only my inability to see it,

admit it.

Admit in every tense of the term.

Admittance: into my heart,

my tongue, my conscious,

my dreams that are stifled with

“but what if?”

and “Last times...”


Dear God,

Let him be the one who is my strength

because this iron strong smile is purely will now.


I want to surrender to tears now.

But all I have are hangers and hooks



my gendered ideals that cloak me;

my wonder woman cape,

making me in - penetrable, in - destructible,

in - visible.


Dear God,

Let him

Let him be

Let him be the one

The one who...

I have left my lists and check boxes

behind with the one who

Was Not.


It is not for him I write this.

It is not for age old traditions.

It is not for moral reassurances.

It is not for company or pleasure.

It is not even for disillusioned girl that was.


Dear God,

Let him be real,

true, strong,


I meant to know

“Anything Can Happen”

“Just Believe”

“Time Will Tell”



dear God

when he comes

let me see.