In the rose scented garments of my Arabic grandmother
lies the test of a thousand suns untiring to protect our family.
In the night, the Lebanese were murdered in the town center
for everyone to see. My father won’t tell me the stories,
his face scarred from the sleepless nights praying for a sign
that it was safe enough to escape, cloaked in darkness, from his home.

My family’s stories of jalewehal, that lingering sweetness
of kashta on eid, are the memories we cling to remember.
It’s the za’taar and olives that my grandmother carried,
dragged through borders of Lebanon to Egypt that we
cherish the most. This language, our language and the olive trees
planted on our ancestors’ graves are the only pieces of our land that we can hold.