i used to share a bed with the clattering city,
insulated only by white sheets, window screens
awoken daily by a small bird’s voice, listen:
isn’t this noise?
i’d like to be that bird. i click my tongue
until it blisters. i’m told
this is disruptive. i could be louder,
if you like.
i could be louder & choose only
to make myself known.
in my home we are surrounded by
silence and so you hear everything.
back there, we were surrounded by
everything and so we heard
i’ve said too much. i have only
been silent twice,
once when i needed something &
once when i needed not to be
silenced. pause [
]. from now on i’ll speak
only when summoned. it’s still important
to sleep & wake:
noise grows in the city like a body & still
a single bird may drown
a dozen languages.
Samia Saliba (she/her) is a Lebanese-American writer, organizer, and historian. She edited The Rachel Corrie Foundation’s Shuruq 4.5 Writing Showcase for writers of Arab heritage (2020) and was a RAWI Wet Hot Arab-American Summer fellow (2019). Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Mizna, Protean Magazine, [sub]liminal, and Unootha Mag. Find her on twitter @sa_miathrmoplis or in real life petting a cat.