Sumia Jaama – two poems

Remember

Carpet burns on your tongue.
Remember, how you swallowed back every confession.
Your throat
Now resembles
Scorched hallways.
Show me where she hurt you.
Build a refuge here.
Bleach the memories so you never revisit them.
Furnish your mind with something other than empty.
Pick the scabs so you never forget.
Heal/
Let it teach you.
Cook your wounds by the window.
Let them not mistake this tenderness for a cookout.
Marinate your meat so well she never wakes up.
Wait for sunset to cremate her bones.
Bedsheets of your skin now mingle with the incense of her memory.
Shedding is a prayer I cannot afford to neglect.
Remember, how your voice stopped wearing her name.
I’ll rewrite this poem so it feels less like mourning.
I’ll rewrite this poem so it feels less like mourning.
Remember, how your voice stopped wearing her name.
Shedding is a prayer I cannot afford to neglect.
Bedsheets of your skin now mingle with the incense of her memory.
Wait for sunset to cremate her bones.
Marinate your meat so well she never wakes up.
Let them not mistake this tenderness for a cookout.
Cook your wounds by the window.
Let it teach you.
Heal/
Pick the scabs so you never forget.
Furnish your mind with something other than empty.
Bleach the memories so you never revisit them.
Build a refuge here.
Show me where she hurt you.
Scorched hallways
Now resemble
Your throat.
Remember, how you swallowed back every confession.
Carpet burns on your tongue.


Between her bellybutton and her breast

Waris stood there. Adorning her face is a wet
forest of ghasil. Her shash gathers the bouquet
of tight curls sitting in congregation. Listening, to
the sweet silence of Sagal resting on her back.

Who wants to lie with a woman stained
with scars? with stretch marks?
I’ve got to get rid of these scars.

She lifted her baati. Showed me a garden of seeds
blossoming between her bellybutton and her breast.
Seeds whose sadness remain rooted in her eyes.
Echoing Sentiments of roots before her.

Llike Hooyo’s and Ayeeyo’s. Gardens of women
convinced that their branches are weeds. Scrubbing
cocoa butter and oils, as though convictions would erase them.

She told me of the blessing she carried on
her back. Sagal, meant morning rays of the sun
visiting during a rainy season. Her eyes are
heavens that have not stopped weeping.


Sumia uses poetry as a mirror to reflect her subconscious and uncover some of the conversations we may not have otherwise. She’s interested in how poetry can be used to not only capture moments but in documenting a lived experience, one that reflects an honest and authentic individual cultural identity. As a result, she uses poetry to figure out who she is as an individual, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a lover. A semi-finalist in the Roundhouse Poetry Slam 2017, Sumia will be graduating this summer with a BA (Hons) in Arabic and English Literature and is currently facilitating poetry workshops with Keats House for high school students.

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