american-Palestinian incantation

Fargo Nissim Tbakhi

absence makes the water, i learn what shape to takebased on the space i must fill today.i do not believe in object permanence.i do not believe that dogs are my best friend.i do believe in ghosts. you can fall in love with them.on days i feel too solid,i wear the border around my neck: black and white,fishnet patterned, tasseled. this wayyou do not have to wonder in which language my bloodmoans. my veins a cyst filled to the an arcade claw machine, i am far too goodat letting go: you do not text me for a day and i give youa viking's funeral. i have learned that grief is betterwhen quick and efficient:there is too much of it too often.i was born a taurus in the year of the ox:doubly stubborn, my feet grow three inches into the dirteverywhere i walk. i am rooted.what can i say? years ago, my grandfather dughis heels in against the settlers. as for me,i am half seraph and half queer.i have taken the liberty of stitchinga dotted line into my skin. this wayyou do not have to wonder which countryyou're kissing. i do believe wordsemerge from walls, not the other wayaround. i do believe in parallel universes.i believe that in one of them,i belong somewhere. in one of them,my grandfather and i at this very momentare comparing shoe sizes. in one of themi kiss his soles and taste a dirt i can name.i wear the family photo album around my neck,and the faces become new to me again each timei open it. if i am not looking at somethingit is not real — this makes me a baby. this makes mepalestinian. this makes me difficult to love.what can i tell you? the things that made us remake usagain and again. i am nothing if not exhausted.i believe in missiles. i believe in tunnelingunderneath walls. i believe that god, too, has kissable feet.what can i say? years ago, my grandfather looked awayand when he looked back, home was gone.i do believe that if i do not blink,if i only keep on looking,it will come back.

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Fargo Nissim Tbakhi is a queer Palestinian-American performance artist. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, he has received fellowships from Halcyon Arts Lab, Desert Nights Rising Stars, Mosaic Theater, and VisArts. His writing can be found in Strange Horizons, Apex Mag, Mizna, Peach Mag, the Shallow Ends, Prolit, and elsewhere.

Mizna 21.1 Cover by Cumaea Halim

Volume 21.1

St. Paul, Minnesota

Executive + Artistic Director
Lana Barkawi

Editorial Assistant
Sarah Dillard

Mizna is a critical platform for contemporary literature, art, film, and cultural programming centering the work of Arab and Southwest Asian and North African artists. For twenty years, we have sought to reflect the depth and multiplicity of our community and have been committed to being a space for Arab, Muslim, and other artists from the region to reclaim our narratives and engage audiences in meaningful and artistically excellent art.

We publish Mizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America, the only Arab American lit and art journal in the country; produce the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, the largest and longest running Arab film fest in the Midwest; and offer classes, readings, performances, public art, and community events, having featured over 400 local and global writers, filmmakers, and artists.

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