She sold corn, lupin, and sesame paste
swirled in molasses
with a mouth full of brittle teeth,
skin the color of a drought, pale dust
and a green line tattooed her chin
with circles on both sides,
a caterpillar stretched thin,
on a sunlit street
with a piece of cardboard swinging
like wings above date trees,
palms face God, trembling
like driftwood, traveling down the Nile
towards the North
selling molasses and raisins
the only things we should have left in the sun to dry.
Belal Mobarak was born in Alexandria, Egypt. Raised in Queens. He is the middle child and the son of a great storyteller. Writing is how he learned to finish his stories, and poetry is how he learned to tell them with the least amount of words possible. Recently selected as a finalist in Brutal Nation’s Competition for Writers of Color, you can find his work published in Columbia Poetry Review, Newtown Literary, Blueshift Journal, Flock, Apogee, and others. He currently works for Higher Education in New York City. You may find more of his work here.