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A Toast To My Father - Hejaz Jalal

I drink from the skull of my father

The poison delicious, dark lager

It fuels return fire, and his ire

Inspires within me the bitch and the liar

There is no escape, once stripped

Bolted children to a script

So venom flows and within me grows

To expose decay to ravens and crows

With every revolution ‘round the sun

Through work and sweat, I feel I’ve won

Only again to be taught that the rot

Is not anything I could ever stop

There is no victory over your own bones

Your own flesh, land, earth and stones

This cancer is my energy, my legacy

Chemically me, my entirety

As me as my sinful snatch that bleeds

My wired brain that craves weed

My scarred arms, flesh I harm

Alarms the sweet; but others, charms

This is me: I dance; I drink sulfur

In defiance of decency and culture

I paint in red and I rejoice in dread

Instead of simply dropping dead


Hejaz Jalal is a new poet who writes in Arabic, French, and English about the queer Muslim experience in the Middle East and the feminist perspective in Saudi Arabia. Prohibited from studying science by her father, she now writes poetry and science fiction.

Instagram: @hejaz.jalal


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