Omayma Khayat

BIO
A longtime Brooklyn, NY resident, Omayma Khayat divides her time between mothering, poetry and working as a print project manager. Her writing tackles the need for questioning oneself, the search for identity and a place to belong. She delves into the everyday struggles of being a mother, a woman, an Arab, a Muslim, a person of color and the list goes on. Some of Omayma’s poetry has been published in The Brownstone Anthology, Rough Beasts - Indolent Books, Raising Mothers, the NYWC 2020 journal, After the Clouds the Sun an ANYDSWPE 2021 Anthology and The Silent World in Her Vase.

Cartwheels

Prayer stance on worn out rug
Head to soil
I recite praise and worship
Supplications to the heavens
And
         and
                  You
Lose power
When i find strength
So you take that away
                             From me

i dance cartwheels in my head
Heart throbbing - gut wrenching
As you push wheel spokes through my identity
Hold power over me
Make me hunger for acceptance

I recite praise and prayer and power
You take my language
Voice from sorrows
And
           and
                     tumbleweed
Them into empty deserts where oasis imagined
Palm trees and dates under shade
Of hot Arabian sun
Yes, Arabian sun
Can’t take the warmth from me
The element that satiates my hunger

The way you took language
Turned words of prayer and praise and power
Into words of death and terror
Made them synonymous to evil
Jihad, Allah, Ummah
My struggle, my God, my nation, under one
Indivisible
Until you drew lines on my map
Created with blood from my people

----------------------------------------------- // ---------------------------------------------------------

All Things Are Holy

All things are holy I invoke
as I try to stop time
move clock handles to make the world still
Speak in tongues to the sun and moon
Beseech the darkness to stay a bit longer

All things are holy I invoke
dressed in my mourning black
black like the dark coffee I drink daily
black and bitter and sugarless
spun the wheel to find my prize
as I bled ink
concentric black circles seeping into canvas

All things are holy I invoke
like the space in the crook of my arm
unoccupied
you once - once upon a time
in the crook of my arm
eyes wide and speaking in tongues.
the distance between point A and B,
measured in eternal diameters,
hold me to space empty until full

All things are holy they plead
as I scrub off the target on my heart
a dart board missing its darts
pool table without its 8 ball
my heart uninhabited
I hold prayer beads in my right hand
1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1,
counting over and over
lost my place in between
the spacers that hold each bead apart
meaningless prayers supplicated
trying to find my center
like a sundial left to cast its shadows
on sunflowers discovering their radiance

All things cannot be holy

----------------------------------------------- // ---------------------------------------------------------

What Exists When It Doesn’t

This page is empty
Except for the scribbles and scratches
The words preferred not to be spoken

The ink wet, still, my fingers blur out
Letters, constenents, it embellishes the O’s
And accentuates the reds
                                Pen - streaking across

The sheet
                                Blank
Except for words said
Unsaid
Words spoken and taken back like apologies not meant
Or I love you’s said too quickly,
Too early, too prematurely
Like you, like me
Like the in-between
                                the here and there
The nowheres
The hidden worlds, the hidden messages
Hidden feelings, trapped
In chambers that beat, but not for me

These pages, they are empty
Except for the tear stain
Soaking upon phrases never heard
Voices escaping like a dictionary spewing
Thesaurus words
Like synonyms meeting in alleyways
With antonyms and
                                  danger
And unwanted phrases and
Empty promises and
Fabrications and
White lies that begin in micro state
to macro
Like a mango you forgot in the fridge
And it spoiled
Like my heart. 

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