DWELLING AS A FIGURE OF THOUGHT

As brushing hair
her comb fraught with weeds
on a drive to the Westside

As clapping for baby to stop crying
start laughing like it’s the same
as changing the channel

As a collision of nurture and face
muscle control with an emphasis
in pursed lips in every photo

As with takeoff, a few Hail Marys
and silence and chewing gum
to distract from the shrinking of cars

As a mirror and a well in her iris
as goodbye to Beirut and borrowing a Datsun
to plant wine country on a sidewalk 

As bullet holes in every building on this
street and it used to be all paved I swear
there was even a tramway

As a collar bone foregrounding
the seatbelt in a stolen limo on the way
to honeymoon in Vegas

As remaining your father’s daughter
in the midst of stray mortars just to think
of a line as continuous and certain

 

 

ETHNIC ENCLAVE AS NEWS FEATURE

Correspondence between modest laborers

Teach native tongue in eroded city segment 

Immigrant parents experiment with dysphoria

Raise in children unconscious duality 

Stories in carry-on sepia tones 

In decades of photographic memory

Mother of two recalls power shortage 

Between childhood and dispersal over ocean

 

Rami Karim is a writer and artist based in Brooklyn. Their work has appeared in Apogee, The Brooklyn Review, The Invisible Bear, and Peregrine, and their chapbook is Smile & Nod (Wendy’s Subway, 2017). Karim teaches writing at the City University of New York and is a 2017 Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.