The Lucky Ones

by Dana Alsamsam


Today in Syria                  everything that touches the ground
connects to the dead.                  The soles of bare feet cough
into malformed or absent coffins.
Rubble is mixed with the ash   of many mothers and the men
who sold gem-toned blue stones             and golden bracelets            
now trembling                  at the edges of our war-torn wrists.
The lucky ones are buried    in white sheets   instead of burst
like pomegranate seeds                                               and left
to sour in the Damascus sun.
My father tells himself              not to picture our loved ones             
dead for fear                                                 of too much loss,
a fear already ravaging                          the clay bodies of all
who hold         Syria              like a prayer-engraved pendant.
Down the street                              from my Nana and Jido’s
abandoned flat                       is a juice shop next to a bakery            
with a name that I cannot                                       remember
and I know if I went back                   it would look different,
no, it wouldn’t be there at all.


Dana Alsamsam is a queer, Syrian-American poet from Chicago and an MFA candidate at Emerson College. She is the author of a chapbook, (in)habit (tenderness, yea press, 2018), and her poems are published or forthcoming in Gigantic Sequins, Poetry East, Hobart, DIALOGIST, The Collapsar, Superstition Review, Tinderbox Poetry, Cosmonauts Avenue, Fugue, Blue Earth Review, and others.