For Hala

I may have had a drink or two.
I drank the milk of the moon,
I drank the sea
But I am still thirsty, Mother.

Your hymns have cut my throat, Beirut,
Your hymns have disfigured my limbs,                                                       Dismantled my parts.

And as I tried to gather my organs,
Thrown onto your solitary sidewalks                                                         Reconstruct my figure in uneven geometry,                                                               Throw flowers at your living cemeteries,
I lost my voice in your
Empty wells.

My mouth stopped bleeding
You see mother, they were flowing from my pores,                                                 My eyelids
My womb
And the doctor said that my dementia
Has been dancing in my hips.

The city’s rain is sick
The city’s rain is acid.
Will you help me clean
The remnant limestone in the creases of my feet?                                                 You see, I have walked for over a thousand years                                                   On the topography of your face,
And my pilgrimage isn’t over.

The Jordan River ain’t clean mother,
The Litani River ain’t clean mother,
My shedding uterus ain’t clean, mother,
Then where do I wash my aching bruises?

So let it be
When I come to you,
To your Mosques
To your Churches,
Begging for death.

Beirut is a beautiful death,                                                                                         That wanders on virgin flesh,                                                                                      And Beirut is a beautiful death,                                                                                 That spits on Leila’s love songs.

Aya Cheaito

Aya Cheaito recently graduated from New York University with a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology. She wrote her honors thesis at NYU in the Social Psychology Department, specializing in interracial interactions and interpersonal relationships, and also taught psychology at NYU as a teaching assistant. Her writings explore the ideas of the self and otherness, as well as the relationship between historical traumas and the body.

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