As brushing hair
her comb fraught with weeds
on a drive to the Westside

As clapping for baby to stop crying
start laughing like it’s the same
as changing the channel

As a collision of nurture and face
muscle control with an emphasis
in pursed lips in every photo

As with takeoff, a few Hail Marys
and silence and chewing gum
to distract from the shrinking of cars

As a mirror and a well in her iris
as goodbye to Beirut and borrowing a Datsun
to plant wine country on a sidewalk 

As bullet holes in every building on this
street and it used to be all paved I swear
there was even a tramway

As a collar bone foregrounding
the seatbelt in a stolen limo on the way
to honeymoon in Vegas

As remaining your father’s daughter
in the midst of stray mortars just to think
of a line as continuous and certain




Correspondence between modest laborers

Teach native tongue in eroded city segment 

Immigrant parents experiment with dysphoria

Raise in children unconscious duality 

Stories in carry-on sepia tones 

In decades of photographic memory

Mother of two recalls power shortage 

Between childhood and dispersal over ocean


Rami Karim is a writer and artist based in Brooklyn. Their work has appeared in Apogee, The Brooklyn Review, The Invisible Bear, and Peregrine, and their chapbook is Smile & Nod (Wendy’s Subway, 2017). Karim teaches writing at the City University of New York and is a 2017 Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.