I could         wax     lyrical 
a city that    springs     back         to     life
after  a          winter     of         confinement
the way      peoplepress   
into t e r r a c e s
drenched seals slipping
gracelessly into wicker chairs
we said         rain or shine 
it has 
we are
ravenous for
what’s on the menu
and for all 
we’ve been missing
the joy of being     o    u    t
seeing others
the reason we squeeze into
huge sprawling cities 
tiny cramped apartments
that                 Big City Life
the         lightness of laughter
among friends who live
in different homes
the         pleasure of food
prepared by someone else
is that embarrassing to admit?
too bourgeois of me to say?
I have been making same three dishes
since March 2020
the taste of red lentils
just doesn’t hit like it used to
my mother lives too far away
I could tell you about moving
about wondering why I can
never set roots
why I don’t feel rootless
but am often restless
less concrete rose  
                        more tumble        weed 
why I’m always wondering
what it would be like elsewhere
not to say that
‘here’ isn’t enough
but there’s so much in the ‘elsewhere’
all the letters should get attention
no matter where they are in the word
my mother
across the seas
suggests maybe it’s in my DNA
Your father’s family lives in Khartoum
but they came from ‘elsewhere’

my mothers own mother
didn’t know where hers was from
somehow it didn’t matter
                         HOW DID IT NOT MATTER?
her fair skin and light eyes said ‘elsewhere’
light eyes are not native to the Sahara
despite what aussie border signs scream
not-native doesn’t always mean
is two letters and
whole worlds away from
pay attention to all the letters
to where they are in the word
There’s so much I could write poetry about
but what I can’t seem to shake
is that this poem is in English
Latin characters
moving across my screen 
left to write
by twist of fate
I don’t read poetry in the language of my family
I’m not even talking distant ancestors
my own mother and father
parents who
wax lyrical about the beauty of اللغة العربية
my first language
one I have no mastery over
a linguist orphan
I have lost my mother
I am
the weakest link
am I
the break in the chains
          the             gap 
          between generations
did I not
try hard enough
is it
my fault?
my descendants will have
no mother tongue?
but instead inherit the
master(s) tongue
how do I tell them
I am
the reason they have lost
the turn of phrase
the deftness
wisdom that goes back centuries
all hidden 
in plain sight
what if
they resent me for it
what if
I resent me for it
what if
I don't… 
I think that scares me more 
there’s so much to write poetry about