Poem: Sahar Khraibani

from The Geography Of Emotions



Lies told honestly

We drove across the Sonoran desert at 10 pm
And it felt like two in the morning
The I-10 at night is pitch black
But you can see the stars
Like you’ve never seen them before
In your little hometown
Polluted by lights
And a thick layer of smog
From nitrogen
And all the cigarettes
Everyone smoked.

On the F train
Passing West 4th St
Sitting next to a man I don’t know
His skin is darker than mine
I don’t want to be scared
But I am.
K told me about the reservations
And how casinos are important
For native people
It felt odd
To not know any of these things
And then to know them

Our histories are merging
As mine is forming

I never write poems on the train
I’d been always preoccupied
With my destination
And what station’s next
And the passed out man
And the sad woman crying

I woke up this morning
Sulking sulking
“Stress paralysis is real”
I tell S

A guy in Koreatown is really pissed on the phone
Because a dumplings spot he used to frequent 10 years ago is gone

We have no sense of history
Yet are so embedded in it
It follows us everywhere

Drove down Embassy Row
In Washington DC
One man standing under the rain with an umbrella
“I am the Sudan revolution”

The I
Stands in between
And the reclaiming of it

“The great force of history
Comes from the fact fact we carry
It within us, are unconsciously
Controlled by it… history is literally
Present in all that we do”
Wrote James Baldwin

I have no sense of history
In the passenger seat
In the car
Driving across the Sonoran Desert
Across Embassy Row in Washington DC
I can’t reclaim it.


Sahar Khraibani is a writer, editor, and designer based in New York City. She is interested in the intersection between language, visual production, and geopolitics. Her writing has appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, TERSE Journal, and Bidayat Mag, among others.

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