Poetry by Tamer Sa’id Mostafa: from triliteral roots

—after Craig Santos Perez


[ra-ha-meem              (womb):]

i named my first star               on a farmhouse roof
in Kafr El Zayat                      flooding fennel seed
into the divots of a mortar                   an oud’s fifth string
danced like a caudex

[rahma            (compassion):] the moon blued its dust to our voices
a mother tongue unadulterated           a nasheed
of desert roses surrendering    to their stems

[Ar-Rahman              (The Most Compassionate):]
i lifted a sleeping mat
filled with plump palm fibers
away from the fire’s timbre
to pray along the earth’s outgrowth    with the words            of a second language
milking my bones

[raheem          (merciful):] a relative turned my body
by her henna tresses    a bridge of kinship
unrolling my shoulders

to hear the grazing of ghosts

in the pastures below
and the star’s name                             was a metonym
for her who I cannot save

Tamer Sa’id Mostafa (pronouns: he/him/his) is an-always proud Stockton, California native whose work has appeared in over twenty various journals and magazines such as Confrontation, Literary Orphans, and Zone 3, among others. He is an Arab-American Muslim who no longer wears an American Flag Bandana or smokes Marlboro Reds. Instead, he reflects on life through spirituality, an evolving commitment to social justice, and the music of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony.

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