Little parts of me, they say 

I leave little parts of me in

everyone I meet

They say I remember you 

The political girl

Muslim girl

Looks like you’ve gotten more liberal girl?

I can see your hair 

Didn’t you once say that was 


Am I saying that right?

I leave parts of my life in everyone 

I’ve ever met 

Even bad parts

They say remember when you told 

Me that you were being 

Forced to get married 

Oh yeah your religion-

No, you said culture? Right? 
Sometimes I leave sour tastes in people’s mouth
They say remember when you called me out

I said Arabic instead of Islam

Scarf thing instead of hijab
I leave revolutions in people’s minds

They say remember that time you invited us to that protest?

Summer of 2014

Long 7 train walks time square 

You spoke of Gaza a lot 

How is Gaza doing btw?
Sometimes I leave good parts 

They say remember how you shared that chocolate 

Packets of Nescafé

Remember the tabla salad 

Oh right taboola? 
Sometimes people take the parts of me I gave them and throw them out 

Like my best friends of 2 years 

Like being blocked on snapchat

Like 2 years later sitting next to each other in class and not saying a word 

Like that 
And sometimes I take parts back and give new parts 

They say Zeina you’ve changed 

You’re so sassy now 

So confident 
And sometimes I give the same parts of me over and over 
They say 

Wow, you’re still the political girl

The Muslim girl

You haven’t changed 



Everyday I color my world 


Reds and greens and violets 

Purples too

Everyday I color my world happiness

Laughter and love 

And sassiness too 

And everyday I go to sleep and wake up


Only to pick up my brush 

And pick up my self worth too 

Don’t tell me I’m overreacting  

I struggle to understand,

how I’ve blossomed from someone quiet,

shy, don’t do that 

Don’t talk to boys, don’t stay out,

It’s 12 a.m. I’m waiting for the train 

Relationships broke apart, 

no more mama 

“You’re no longer my daughter”


Killed by diseases 

Called patriarchy 

And power 

I struggle to understand, 

How me 




How we are strangled by arms 

By state,society,men

Other women 

How have women kept running 

I struggle, so much 

It’s 12:30 a.m. the train hasn’t come yet

4 missed calls: baba 

I wonder 

Burning the past 

44 days 
Now that I’ve learned how to move on 

I would like to give you back your 

Journal, I ripped pages out of rage

Your coffee, it was bitter and I was too shy 

To ask for more sugar 

Your pen, actually I’ll keep that 

Give me back my 44 days 

Give me back my poetry 

I was too vulnerable to share 

Forget them, 

I wrote superficially 

And now I’m all regrets

My coffee fell this morning 

I opened my bags, removed papers 

Stained with coffee, 

I explored and found the paper bag

You gave me the present in 

I do not attach myself 

To objects 

Mama taught me that long ago 

Like when she threw out my Mother’s Day

Cards, presents, certificates

She said “just things”

So I threw out the paper bag

You mean very little now 

And in trying to

figure out 

what I lost and gained from

your non-reciprocal love 

I want my 44 days back 

You can have the pen 

Your Muslim Existentialist 

Allow me to rant 

Does anyone ever wonder why they check up on things that don’t bother them anymore to fill this curiosity and then end up regretting it? I’ve said this again and again, humans are so complex. Life is so complex. When you think about things for too long, trying to figure them out, you eventually end up losing even what made sense for a while. I wonder why I’m sad, why I realize that life is short and yet still allow this sadness to take over. Why some days I’m fine and the next I’m not. Why I become so confused, so lost, so uncertain so quickly. Why is life this complex. It could be so easy. They say be aware of your feelings. Feelings are messing me up. When I was cold and didn’t talk about feelings I was fine. I wasn’t sad, I was just functioning like a robot. As long as I did my work I was fine. Now it’s dealing with getting work done and resolving more of the internal. Feelings can’t be done in one night. They can’t be solved. They can’t be resolved. They keep coming back. Awareness messed me up. Self care messed me up. fighting these thoughts and the only way I can do that is by letting go of them. It was all fake, all temporary. Doing things I didnt want to do. Things people told me to do. You’ll feel better if you do this and this. It’s been 1 year since I opened up and starting speaking about how I feel. I should have never done that. I should ignore feelings.  Not feel. Do my work. Perform daily functions, settle, not care, not feel. Feelings mess you up I’m telling you. We advise people to do this and that and yet they still live their lives in recovery. Their whole life is recovering. Their whole life is trying to heal. Constant reminders that they are not there yet. What’s whole in that? What’s humane about that? A life of constant struggle, of people telling you how to take care of yourself, of being tired. Life is so fucking complex. 

Please don’t tell anyone about this 

I don’t tell anyone that I turn on Quran in the car because it helps me feel less alone 

Less able to think, less able to feel 

I don’t tell anyone that I hold on to the last words as the reciter is nearing the end of the Surah 

Before I start to tear

And recite to God to reaffirm me

Whoever told you healing was good was lying 

It’s painful, it’s clutch my heart in one hand, hijab in the other 

It’s begging for healthy healing, it’s god please let this time be healthy healing

I am too concentrated on my prayer that I miss the car coming toward me 

I steer fast 

The Quran starts again 

“what does this mean, God?”

Like eid days 

My white professor remembered my name even though I never spoke up in class, 

“You remembered my name!!” I said, as my face lit up like getting money on eid days. 

*something about having space as a poc*