Dana Alsamsam

Nana Says
Dubai, UAE

Nana presents two apricot jam jars, 
            real honey with comb, Nescafé and tea. 
She gives like she
            is falling           which wouldn’t be too hard
            close to the ground and delicate
as an eggshell   broken
                        by a slim beak of light.

Nana fills the fridge and cabinets
like the apocalypse is upon us so we might
            eat from her hands       her clay colored plates. 
It still must feel like home
            though this never will be          not really. 
                                                (not enough life left
                                                to spend it dreaming
                                                            of the scent
                                                            of Syrian jasmine)

Nana says my father is like the maestro
            making sure it all          goes and goes. 
Her back hurts but she rocks to the swill
            of his careful comfort song.

Nana smiles as she proclaims               life is difficult
            her dark eyes disappearing beneath      
practiced skin, 
            staring out
                        at a dusk pink sun



In this suburban house, the ceilings cough
into their twenty foot vaulted elbows. 
There are tears in caverns of dry wall. 
No one hears the leaking faucet. 

When father is gone on business, 
the silver spoons undulate
in spacious oak drawers, unbloomed
shining tulips wanting mouths to kiss. 

Mother lays in bed with malaise, 
surrounded by the hot house flowers
of abundance. I watch her count pearls
and wipe already clean countertops. 

Out the window, under the poplar tree, 
my baby teeth are buried, but even
if I scour the ground, I cannot recall
what is before anger, before waiting.  

The shovels screech and scowl at dirt,
rooted molars are stuck in decay
as I am stuck in a house whose doors
ever suffocate, ever darken.


Dana is a queer, Syrian-American poet from Chicago who is currently an MFA candidate at Emerson College in Boston. She is a poetry reader/media specialist at Redivider and an intern at Ploughshares. Dana's poems are published or forthcoming in Hooligan Mag, Bedlam Publishing's LoudZoo, Sun & Sandstone, After Hours Chicago, L'Ephemere Review and others.