Siwar Masannat


If it rains, vendors pack up and leave, everything goes half price. Coats: armholes inviting limbs into the furry coverage of fingers finding their way along tunnels of interwoven textile. From Abdali you can take cabs to Aqaba, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine. On double dates we go to the Dead Sea and brown bodies lie on yellow sand. You can make out for exactly five minutes before a waiter finds you, tells you, never nicely, to go back to Amman. If you pay extra you are a Very Important Person and can slip through the Areeha border in four hours instead of days. Realistically it should take an hour and a half.

                                                : :

Girl:          Leave Abdali, take the bus with me
                 to Rum, we can wear tunics and
                 grow our hair in braids like
                 vine stalks spiral their legs into permanent embrace.

Vendor:    Shoes and bags cost one Dinar.

Girl:          We can live in tents like Bedouins, pretend
                 it’s the seventies without civil strife.

Vendor:    I like the streets, you can flick cigarettes wherever
                nothing catches on fire amidst brick and concrete.

                                                : :

                                             After our bicycle ride through Abdali
                                                             I want to wear a
                                                      red reflective vest to bed.
                                                          Watch me glow in it.


at first Layla understood Ahmad’s sighing

as a subtle commentary on the quality

of her conversational skills the tune of the beehive

resonates in their ears she unzipped her

sweater about five times before catching

herself Layla recounts

the story of their first meeting with a flourish

Ahmad thinks about the bees

contemplates their extinction the flowers

of the backyard are sending out pollen

like declarative statements brimming

with certainty in headlines he thinks

aloud the word honey Layla overcome

by tenderness is content her notion

of love extends to the texture of the tangible

a corrugated knife but blunt in a kitchen sink

the cell of the honeycomb is a metaphor

Ahmad can almost taste the honey sliding

down the roof of his mouth the hexagonal house

is where Layla would invite Ahmad

for brunch laying down plates of

eggs sunny side up & scrambled


The lowest point on earth, on the sand squat.
Mud spews up between her index and thumb as Fadia's palm encircles it.

Ismail leans towards her love handles, slathering black onto olive skin.
When Ismail floats Fadia remembers his tie flapping in the breeze—the sky turns orange
and his mouth (inaudibly), marhaba.

Ismail measures wind speed.
After a rainy winter in 1980 the water turned red as salinity dropped to 30 percent.

Strand of hair tied with a string as a bookmark and Ismail laughs when, in his hands, her
ponytail cannot defy the pull towards sand.
Fadia imagines the sun nests by the edge of the Dead Sea, throws it a nudge, a wink.

The Dead Sea cannot sustain romance, Ismail says,
cells trafficking water out; we are running out of water.

The air saturated, between her nostrils and his shoulder's curly hairs.




- - - - - -

Siwar Masannat is Jordanian and has a BSc in Pharmacy from the University of Jordan. She currently lives in Fairfax, Virginia, where she attends the MFA program at George Mason University. She has poems published in Hayden's Ferry Review, elimae and Counterexample Poetics.




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