genome of a generation in healing

poem by Maya Salameh


Image credit: Chris Barbaris via Unsplash

I will piece myself back together by
the crux of entwined lashes
at the apex of my eyes
where memories meet mind
and mind mars memories.

I will domestically consolidate my
assets with the bindings
of my dna; the weak hydrogen
bonds and the supplement vitamin-gummy strong of family. the nitrogenous bases
of my internal faraway can’t-confiscate-conceal-or-carry
places. I will laugh
and reunite my peddling
provinces under an iron fist. I will explore
the solar systems under my tongue.
I have reconciled with myself two, ten, twelve times before.
there is a terrible
beauty in loving your rocky
beaches. the coast is only complete with
its jagged pieces.

I will make peace. I will post
memos on my hipbones to remind
me of the power in my curved unnerved lips.
I will paint polished truths onto my toes.
I will draft legislation up and down my legs.
I will welcome every imperfection/scar/flaw –
love will be the highest law.

I will reunite in all of my languages.
me reuniré
je me reunirai
I will pray. incense is always burning somewhere.
this is worthy of worship.

I will barter my palms for poems painted in persimmon.
many have called me a poet, but I’m still becoming a writer, I am still working on my intimacy.

I will feel like a phenomenon – cold front staining shoulders, cumulus crowding curls, lightning between lips.

when asked about innocence, I will answer my sister and I spent night after night wishing on the flimsy stars stuck to our ceiling. sometimes, intention glows better in the dark.

when my bones shake with the gravity of all that is left to be done,
I will remember some things
are still worth our awe, some things
are still worth blood and ink, still worth taking stock and keeping score,

some things
are still worth falling for.

so I will speak –
before it swallows me.

when they tell you not to take that tone. remember. for every goliath there is a stone.

I resolve for the new year to write an essay. I will call it home.

I will write a story. I will call it grief.
I will write a poem. I will call it relief.

Maya Salameh

Maya Salameh is a senior at the San Diego High School of International Studies. She is a 2016 National Student Poet, and has performed at venues including the White House and Carnegie Hall. Maya is passionate about the intersection of creativity and psychology, and expounds on themes of femininity, identity, and citizenship in her writing. As the President and Founder of her school’s Psychology Club, she has promoted awareness of mental health issues and youth advocacy, notably through her leadership of the PSA project with the SDPA. She has been admitted to Stanford University, where she hopes to pursue her interests in psychology and political science. Maya is the daughter of Waleed Salameh, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice in Mission Valley. Last week, she was awarded a Gold Key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards on her Writing Portfolio, entitled Diplomat Without a Country.

Print this poem and two others by Maya here.


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