Coloring 

Everyday I color my world 

beautiful

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

Colorless 

Only to pick up my brush 

And pick up my self worth too 

Give us our protection back 

It’s 10:30 pm, 

I’m home and I swallow 2 pieces of malfuf quickly. I need to pray 

I see my 8 year old sister’s tubberwares, washed, green, delicate, sitting on top of each other on the dish holder.

Do you remember when we were little? How if someone in school died, counseling was recommended? Remember how they understood if we needed days off? Do you remember that? 

Now we are losing others, losing ourselves and no one bats an eye. No how are you’s, no hugs, no take the time you need, no time, no space, no healing. 

What was it about being a kid that was so soft? Why did we need protection and when did that stop? 

I wonder why we’ve all grown so broken? Can we have that support back? Can we have that hug back, that how are you?

no really, how are you? 

Mama’s Ma2louba and my bad attitude 

Recipe for Ma2louba:

She wakes me up. She tells me to get dressed and get the stuff we need from the supermarket: 

One squash 

I don’t get up. She screams my name.

One cauliflower head 

I’m tired, I work all week.

One eggplant 

She’s warning me now.

Rice 

She screams my name again, adds an insult.

Spices 

It’s 7 am on a Sunday.

2 tomatoes 

I come home. I have the stuff. I need to change my clothes. She tells me to put the stuff away. I tell her to call my brother to put them away. She says, “no you, and now.” She’s serious. 

Cut the vegetables into small pieces 

She accidentally cuts her finger. She yells, calls me a fool, a good for nothing. I tell her I work all week, I’m tired. 

Fry the cauliflower, eggplant, and squash separately,

She says I did it to myself. She says I’m doing it for myself. 

and place them on a paper towel to drain the oil 

I tell her she never told my brother that. 

Place sliced tomatoes at the bottom of the pot, 

She tells me to shut up. 

Place fried vegetables on top 

I told her it’s unfair, I work really hard.

Place uncooked rice on top

I work all week, 5 days.

Wait for rice to fluff up 

She tells me,

Place a large plate on top of the pot 

“You’ll never be as good as Ahmad. Sons are better than daughters.”

Turn the pot upside down

But ma, I work really hard, you don’t get it. 5 days a week. 

Ma2louba 

Tired, 

Like mama after giving birth

Like Baba after 7 day work weeks 

Like sido after building his first house 

Tired, 

Like teta serving food on eid to 8 kids 

Like ammo recovering after cancer 

Like Amto’s surgery to remove one breast 

Tired, 

Like wanting the occupation to end 

Like wanting the borders to close

Like waiting for the wall to fall 

Always tired 

And it’s only Tuesday