أنا قاتل نفسي

I curl my toes under my thighbones,
begging my own body for some warmth.
My trembling toes are colder than the water
that drips on my numb ribs.
Trikuni!”1)Let me goI am screaming,
screaming, screaming
to someone (anyone)
but no sound escapes my parched lips
for reasons
beyond my reasoning

Badi may, ya imme2)I need water, mother
Itchy concert throats and digesting French toasts.

Beyond the windows,
the waves break over the timeline of the horizon
as a misinterpreted French song
slows down the setting of the sun.
beneath the windows,
invisible, intense spasms of air create
a crawling sensation of critters on my back,
but quite oddly
there is a familiarity to these jitters that
makes me want to pull my tangled hairs out.

I continuously shake my head and feet,
in hopes of breaking free from the iron rods
that bind my back
to my
- wait, what? -

I’ve lost
my train of thought
and I am somewhere between Brussels
et Brugges
avec Rami as my forever muse

Sweat continues to drip from the ceiling
breaking halfway through
into two drops of hydrogen, oxygen
and salt
(salt, of course, salt)
that fall
on my numb face
on to the white tiled floor.
And, if you focus
you will see
water forming puddles
amidst the shockingly white tiles
And, if you focus
you can hear
squeaky voices of Arabic ads
a reminder of dead Barbies and braced smiles

“What else do you want from me?”,
I mumble to the three walls surrounding me.


(this is the ugly sound of silence, by the way)


You see, life has taught me
that there are never answers –
only observations.
And so my mind moves
from one white tile
to another
and it helps recreate the sensation of Chekov’s Ward Number 6
which turns over slowly in the vacuum of my thoughts
as I try to remember what happened
on the pages of a book
I read years ago.
Sweat continues to drip
rhythmically with the misinterpreted French song
(if you’re wondering about the digesting French toast,
it’s finally undigested)

Throw words at me, iza bitridu3)If you please
Let me catch them with my tongue
and roll them back out
before my body becomes a vacuum, too.
Please, people, please
Throw words at me, iza bitridu
Because, you see,
I must go on or I will completely lose grip
of the physical and nonphysical
completely lose grip
of all.

Suddenly, luckily,
I feel
the ants
about to reach my head and pull my hairs off.
I taste
the bitter memories and crushed medicine
that taste like the sour Turkish taxi driver that my aunt
stopped on Ortakoy last year.

And the ants continue to march onwards
I am so grateful for them
Because they remind me of the dead Nazi soldiers on Yusra’s TV
and they sound like the yellow cabs thatLayal and Samar tried to stop
as we walked down Madison Avenue on a cold April.

But that is all I seem to remember.
I am losing.
I am losing memories of life
I am forgetting what my brother’s eyes look like
when he tries to make a point
from across the hall
because the ants are crawling and my feet are clawing
and my mind cannot shut down
and I cannot use my hands




Nur Turkmani

Nur Turkmani is a Syrian-Lebanese who grew up in between Kumasi and Tripoli. She currently works in Beirut as a researcher in economic development, gender, and informal employment. Previously, she was the Managing Editor of Rusted Radishes and has published poetry and non-fiction with the journal. Literature is how she both finds and makes meaning.

Footnotes:   [ + ]

1. Let me go
2. I need water, mother
3. If you please
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