George Abraham


against perturbation


– biological, more or less, to say another
boy ghosted me. he was Arab this time,
there was or wasn’t a frozen lake between
us. those waters muzzling themselves empty
of motion, a crest halted mid-air praying
perhaps. the half-life of dissolving is faith
-less in scatter, much like a volta never
asking permission to unbody
our gaze.
he was perhaps seeking color, the city
whitening itself as it always does; circadian,
cyclic in death & bloom; the body craves
consistent. in repetition, he craves me as mirror
elegy of hair-lined flesh, to say, keratin-laced
& shedding; some bodies swallow their dead, others
put them on display, speaking only in decayed
signals; because i have so little, i pluck a bulbed strand
grazing my temple – tiny-flamed candle, prayer
of the once-living; whereas skyward transition was not
another kind of bleaching
we could pray to –
i’m trying on new pronouns, all of them,
a country i cannot conquer: free or
Palestine. sometimes the binaries construct
themselves: exclusive or. i ornament my face
in patches of shadows & light, blend them
into continuum; from two points, i birth
a multiverse, brief
& unexpected; whereas, in truth,
i saw this poem coming from miles away. not
a storm shedding its weight on the horizon, but
instead a pendulum’s precise momentum, bucking
& strutting, itself a type of memory, self-optimized
against perturbation; amnesia encoded into design,
more or less – a cellular matrix collapsing beneath
thumbprint, in want or lack thereof – in the beginning,
was there ever a body
to remember?


George Abraham (they/he) is a Palestinian-American poet and Bioengineering PhD candidate at Harvard University. They are the author of Birthright (Button Poetry, 2020), and two chapbooks: the specimen’s apology (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019) and al youm (TAR, 2017). He is a Kundiman, Watering Hole, and Poetry Incubator fellow, winner of the 2018 Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize, and recipient of the Best Poet title from the College Union Poetry Slam International. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming online with The Paris Review, Tin House, LitHub, Boston Review, The Rumpus, and in anthologies such as Bettering American Poetry and Nepantla.

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