Al Asi: The Disobedient -A Poem by Dua Al Bostani Al Fattohi

Al Asi: The Disobedient


How much does it take the City
to realize her river can’t be
her accessory?

                     How much does it take her
to know that He can’t be blamed
for the boat,

                       for the Fisher King,
                        for the thigh wound?

How much does it take the City
to believe the Fisher’s fishing
has nothing to do with her

                     Stop spitting on my banks
                     every time the rain falls
                     to make you more barren
                     every time the raindrops
                     start tickling my aqua body.
                     Stop blaming the clouds for
                     not talking the sun into
                     coming out. She won’t come.

                                   The Orontes goes on.


Women would walk to the river
long ago covered in black
head to toe. They would

throw in him much of their
femininity    not revealed to
the City’s men.

They would confide in him
their henna-dyed locks
their placentas after each birth.
The river became sterile –
the City’s womb.

                     How could I feel at home
                     while I’m running through
                     three different worlds at once?
                     How could I feel accepted
                     while I’m flowing from
                     south to the north?

                     How could I feel embraced
                     by the maps while geography
                     books call me “Al Asi / the Disobedient?”

                                       The Orontes streams in.


Waterwheels are men’s mountains,
climaxes to throw themselves from

falling      filling the river’s body.
The City calls them the river’s rats.

Men disappear      drown and die
floating with placentas in their hands.
No baby comes (alive) to the surface.
How much does it take the City
to know that her river can’t be
her lover?

Bio: Dua Al Bostani Al Fattohi @duaalfattouhi is a poet and English language teacher from Hama, Syria. She has two poems “The Fog” and “Duality” published in Harana Poetry Magazine. She is currently working to complete her dissertation in the field of criticism and literary theory to earn a Master’s in English.

Banner Art: “Fire Lines, a gestural drawing ” by Robert Frede Kenter Tweets: @frede_kenter

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