kernel, reflections

though the fact that they were terrible did not mean that they were necessarily truthful

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i walk in swathes of land    drenched in
bearing fruit&flowers
that understand        two languages
missing     the murmur
of a people
who used to laugh
over coffee

somewhere along the path of
national narratives i swum out fearing
hatred would block my air
i continued flowing
towards peace
looking for friends

on turning thirty

my body’s betraying me   following the path of nature
i was given&never asked for
soft fat around my tummy looks         motherly
my thighs follow their mediterranean mould
my hips              mock my early twenties jeans
&i can’t bear to answer yet another question
when will you be a mother   are you ever getting married
a grandchild will make me so happy 

at home,
i speak to my body trying to make it understand that
im not ready, i might never be
i keep explaining that motherhood is a         choice
the mirror keeps         hinting
that at almost thirty
i’ve failed

there it is,
a blink lasting less that a fraction of a section
in the green eyes of a man
what are you
the question mark as big as the pine tree
at the edge of the village
i had walked in just like daddy had taught me,
remember you belong here,on every piece of this island
my confidence breaks into silent apologies
as i lower my green eyes
trying to remember how we ask for coffee
in turkish
i mumble merhaba my thick accent
the green eyes smile
and ask σκέττο, μέτριο, γλυκό;
and i feel the land welcoming me
reminding me
that we come from jasmine&rosewater&coffee&almond blossom
&orange trees&sun&sea salt
that we are a people
that know what


instead of counting sheep
i fall asleep
counting heartbeats.

Dear diary,

I woke up to a sky aligned with how i feel inside.
Cold and gloomy. I prefer it. It would have been more painful if it had been a sunny day.
He left the day I saw my first almond blossom of the season; a glimpse of hope is always in need.
We said goodbye on the last day of winter. I like to think that he will forever be in spring now, smiling down on his loved ones.

You will be missed,
& not forgotten.

February 17, 2017

i’ve never felt so proud
of making a man laugh
of making a dying man laugh.

i left him, trying to remember where i’ve put
my funeral blouse
for he is a dying man

& i’ve never felt so blessed
for all the memories i have

today, i made a dying man laugh.

classroom talks

nine year old comes in mumbling about his broken christmas present
&how he hates his little brother &with eyes wide open he says
he wishes he were president like the orange guy he would
kick all the turks out no miss, actually i would kill them
all then they wouldn’t take our country again ill be the president when i grow up ill
i stop him midsentece; honey, they’ve lived here too, this is their land too,
we share history&customs with them, we share an identity with them
but miss!!
no more talk of killings in the classroom.
so you want peace?
yes, of course i do!
whats in it for you?

the girl comes in and we practice the sounds of a&b&c.

i get a call while im having my morning coffee. stick to your language. you’re there to teach language. you’re young, you don’t know how it was, you were forced to flee your house, you never lost someone, how can you want this peace their trying to impose on us, can you imagine, going to the supermarket not knowing if the turk next to me was the one who killed my brother, stick to your language! my husband is an orphan because of the war.

so you wouldn’t have met.
excuse me?
had it not been for the war, you wouldn’t have met. you probably would have met someone else, and you probably would have children but surely not the ones you have now. so maybe its time that we forget what we’ve lost and see what we have achieved since then

silence, as in her response she has to choose love of the orange groves she grew up in over her children, arguing during dinner.


we seem to forget that
where once blood was shed
flowers grow
every spring
to decorate our

they see my lips
red&voluptuous       thinking they’ve been made
to say yes       to kiss a child’s forehead
to please a man’s toy     my other words are forced
down my throat       they forget my fingers