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As we depart my fatherland by Nasim Rebecca Asl

a tidal wave of hands cascades through the cabin,
stretching to the ceiling. Manicured fingers held to foreheads,
just like dua. Just like farewell. Scarves slip from scalps –

row after row of ebony crops, acorn-brown plaits,
pomegranate-red bobs, chemical straight peroxide,
henna, all bloom at the ping of the seatbelt sign.

I release my curls from their shroud. They flow
to my shoulders and frizz with delight. I unleash
my clavicle, let it drink conditioned air that tickles

just like a lover’s lips. Like this. Unafraid now, I greet
myself. Stroke again this evidence of my skeleton,
this fragile bone that bridges my body’s east and west.

Far below us, a sister ties her hijab to a stick.
Resists. Looks to the sky, mistakes our plane for a satellite
or star. A vapour trail of guilt follows me home.


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