these marks upon my arms

are not for charms or meant

to be charming, they are not

for protection, not for kurt

cobain, and though i like it

when a friend asks if this

one on my left hand is a dandelion

seed, it is not a symbol for that

either. these are a bridge to

the other side i could never

reach wherever i travelled or

what languages i learned to speak,

they are in honor of my sitti

and in defiance of my family,

they are a duty paid to tradition

and a two finger salute to

the policing of tradition. may

these signs on my hands make

me legible as bad other, danger-

ous other, yes a real mother, a spell

cast against ever backing

down or trying to hide, these are

wards cast against passing for

someone more assimilated or

well-behaved. no i will not tell

you what they mean       they mean

everything, they remember me

to mystery and every story my

grandmother never told me

and every origin story my

father never told me and every

inkwell to write my own story

that my family never wanted

for me, and so i wrote them

all here on my hands right at

the fat hinge-joints where

I hook my thumbs into the

wheel of the world and turn.



Rasha Abdulhadi is a queer Palestinian Southerner who cut their teeth organizing on the southsides of Chicago and Atlanta. Rasha's writing has appeared in Speculative City, Liminality, Strange Horizons, Shade Journal, Mizna, Room, |tap| magazine, Beltway Poetry, and Lambda Literary. Their work is anthologized in Essential Voices: A COVID-19 Anthology (forthcoming), Unfettered Hexes, Halal if You Hear Me, Stoked Words, and Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler. Rasha is a member of Justice for Muslims Collective, the Radius of Arab American Writers, and Alternate ROOTS. Their new small book of poetry is WHO IS OWED SPRINGTIME (Neon Hemlock Press).

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