I unlearned my future


           when I tripped over trees
birdsong at my knees like cricket call. I never knew
I was tall. In my world everyone was
mirror -imaged, custom -fitted. Life- droned.

Paradise, we thought. Wore smiles
picked at birth. Ate pre-portioned food,
slept exactly eight hours. Our sun was a cutout,
flip sided by the moon. Programed.

We lived outside of metaphor. Things were not
other things. Things just were. Libraries were
one big “How To,” with poets lost
to exile hundreds of years before.

We did not even bleed.

But here, in this strange place, I am other.
They call me the tower, and the one
who breathes through clouds. They say
I am like a giant bird with melted wings.

They say I must learn to be small again.
To build a nest.
To come home.

— Babo Kamel

Babo Kamel’s poems have appeared in literary reviews in the US, Australia, and Canada. Some of these include Painted Bride Quarterly, Abyss & Apex, The Greensboro Review, Cleaver, The Grolier Poetry Prize, Rust +Moth, Mobius, a Journal of Social Change, and Dreams and Nightmares. She was a winner of The Charlotte Newberger Poetry Prize and is a three-time Pushcart nominee. Her chapbook, After, is forthcoming with Finishing Line Press. Find her at: babokamel.com

Image Notes: Descent of Icarus by Mikey Barrera (Pinterest)

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