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ASMA AL-MASYABI

Asma Al-Masyabi is a poet, writer, artist, and student born and raised in Colorado. She is a Scholastic Silver Medal Poetry winner with publications in Taking Root: The Girls Write Now 2022 Anthology, The Ilanot Review, Up North Lit, Navigating the Maze and more. She’s currently pursuing an associate degree in English, after which she plans to major in creative writing.



LOOKING BACK


There is a game my father likes

to play while driving. He asks me,

one-hundred, two-hundred, three-

hundred years ago, what

was here? What did this street

look like? And we imagine and

of course we do not really know. Sometimes

we envision farmlands, or

nothing. See thin houses conceding

to dirt roads, or

nothing. Pretend a water tower.

Or nothing—

just grasslands stretching beneath the azure

jaw of mountains. We reflect the bones

that fertilized this soil, bodies

that lived and died before we

blinked, eyes towards the sun. Sometimes we wonder

about the stolen-

from. If they traveled where our tires

now tread, if we are running over ghosts

of homes, speeding through space they

once freely breathed. We are clueless

to the footsteps, cannot squint

the outline of history. In silence, we look

towards the horizon. Unseeing, but willing

to see.




RUMINATIONS ON THE GOLDEN STATE



HOW TO BE SELFISH AND CLAIM A LAND AS YOUR OWN


Be born from it.

After darkness

scream

and take

your first breath from its air.

Keep breathing, lungs

taking; taking; taking.


Live through a transfusion

of stories and blood. For

some, it is stories alone.

For others, only blood.

One or each, they spill over,

staining

the insides of your skin.


It is all that has existed.

Or, it has existed the most

and you’ve grown to it.

Watch with reverence

the passing of clouds,

hold them loosely

in your palms.


Be still in its presence.

Watch all the things

you’ve never known and

fit them between your jaws.

Ache for it, or find your toes

tunneling into the soil.


It is yours.





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