By Sara M. Saleh
When I was eight, I’d come home from school
the smell of fried garlic & onion spilling across the air,
in tears, I would sit and scribble on pale pink post-its
No more Arabic
Arabic is hard
I hate Arabic
I’d stick them up around the house, early ‘Eid’ decorations
on windows, walls, on the fridge door,
then Mama would gently cup my face, and coo her consonants,
‘I know you’re struggling, Sara, we will do it together’.
I did not want a together that made me foreigner, fractured me
in halves like the languages scraping the back of my parents’ throats
it took me years to realise this is an act of bravery,
And mama and baba see more of the world.
Now I carry this name necklace they gifted me
an unabashed Arabic announcement
A beacon of bright light, it’s worth not in its shine
so whenever I go to see the world, too, I never forget the way home.
Sometimes I still smile in surprise, sweeping my collarbone,
singing the songs my parents sing, at how I’ve never felt alone.