/Aleppo, illustration by the Lebanese artist Jana Traboulsi/
After Aleppo by Jehan Bseiso
I learned to read early.
But the truth is, sometimes I wish the letters remained funny drawings for longer, before the uninvited tyranny of words, and
before other tongues found home in my big mouth.
I don’t mean it literally.
One day, we will go back to Aleppo you said.
You don’t mean it literally.
Habeebi four years ago we shouted for change, and now we are citizens of border towns.
We go from Turkey, to Lebanon, to Egypt, but we don’t find Aleppo.
We have food vouchers, and, assistance criteria, and, intermittent empathy.
I don’t write any more poetry.
The boat is sinking,
but I don’t want to leave this room.
It smells like jasmine and you taste like freedom.
This poem was published in January last year, on Mada Masr.