by Rasha Abdulhadi
beloved, please become beloved. i've been chasing your silhouette, but just missing you, with a busted ankle in a doorway of rain, alone, I sang into the tucked sheets of a starless night, sang you a blanket then and would again —and you, always moved before i could love you for what you just finished for what you just are: that slippery fish trying to find itself in a card catalogue, between hangers on a rack, trying to plant itself in chapter after chapter of an invented life, love, how you change form to become yourself, how your costumes hide the molting beneath, a covet of jackets and hats— i always suspected you would be exactly who you are, and yet, how you get there surprises me. You are so difficult, so stubbornly unsolved and more fascinating for it. For all your genius joy river slipping under sticky fascia tension and sliding out of skin, i don't believe it will get easier but i believe you will get out of your own way. You survived— long enough to not make their mistakes you will make your own.
Rasha Abdulhadi is a queer Palestinian Southerner living with Long Covid disability. Rasha's writing has appeared in Poem-a-Day, Kweli, Heartlines, Anathema, FIYAH, Strange Horizons, carte blanche, ROOM, and Mizna. Their work is anthologized in Essential Voices: A COVID-19 Anthology (forthcoming), Snaring New Suns, Halal if You Hear Me, and Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. Their Elgin Award-nominated chapbook is who is owed springtime (Neon Hemlock, 2021).