"Searching for a Palestinian Necropastoral (Eve)" by George Abraham

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July 1, 2021 

Searching for a Palestinian Necropastoral (Eve)


George Abraham

& I found it at the bottom of an american river—& in
the leaves which gathered at its surface’s semblance
of stillness, appearing & not so, as if endless

though counted for, & I found it not in the beams
of light, but how, electric & frantic, they danced beneath 
the water, like a choreography preceding any notion of

body, or unknowable twins returning to the half-self 
they could have never imagined & I found it in that half
-liminal light, divined into fractal’s endless—before split 

& risen, before splay & tempt, before 
womblessness became an american sadness & I found it
in my mother’s breath, her reek of rivers still

enough to pass as reflection & in the smogged 
aftermath of filter & filter &, I found it—there,
yes, there: in the wilderness rotting 

at the center of me—crater of me, tender cesspool 
unaccounted for, unnameable aside from the complacency 
of latex & in the tempt of men I will 

not fable, not legend, or border between. Because I cannot
taint this dark with all the names
they could not give me, the only crown I reach for 

is felled kingdom—this is how I fawn 
the toxic, flora. But is this not the first 
motion, of arriving at a pastoral: to have 

a past to run from? Though the Anthropocene of me
is memoryless as a pathing wind, as prayer’s
barter. Gethsemane of me, I beg of you a fruit

half-bitten & worm writhed—first language, bitter 
prosody of me. This is the only fall my body 
can muster: eclipse of. Lone, knowable 

nightfall. I cannot return to a weightless less american 
than this, the pulled into: body 
                                                of me. Poisoning eucharist 

of. Take me into the canon’s night & may it be a good, 
good night—& may that night be anything, anything but 
              a mouth—anything                      but a body of—

Copyright © 2021 by George Abraham. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 1, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.

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“Because abusers have the obvious faces and I’ve thrown them all through every notion of window. Because even in death, you (yes, you know who you are) cannot say Palestine, let alone, our names. Because you have failed and will fail to stand with us. Because, within some notion of life/time, the empire’s sun will extinguish. Because this isn’t the Eve you’re thinking of, I promise. Because none of this had anything to do with allegory. Because the center of this poem is my body. Because the center of my body is this poem. Because I am giving you my whole body, not merely what was done to my body. Because I refuse to call this poem, or the space around it, ‘confessional.’ Non-Palestinians can stop reading now; go read up on ways to support BDS instead. My People: if you see yourself in this poem, know that I love you. If you see yourself in this poem’s negative image, meet me at the center of the center of the center of the center of the center of the center of.”
George Abraham

George Abraham is a Palestinian-American poet, educator, and engineer who grew up on unceded Timucuan lands. They are the author of Birthright (Button Poetry, 2020), which won the Big Other Book Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Poetry. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard University, Abraham is currently a board member for the Radius of Arab American Writers (RAWI).


Birthright
(Button Poetry, 2020)


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“I Belong There” by Mahmoud Darwish
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Thanks to R. Erica Doyle, author of proxy (Belladonna Books, 2013), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Watch a Q&A about Doyle’s curatorial approach and find out more about our guest editors for the year
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