As Us

A Space for Writers of the World

Safia Elhillo – Poetry

susie knuckles in love

i think i met all the
wrong men before
you and i think they
ruined me but i
think you’re really
handsome the way
a map is handsome,
with skin wide open
soaked in the whole
world’s ink. i
think i’m done pulling
paint off the walls i
think i want to read
you the names of
every city that ever
burned down, i think
we’d like it there.

what i learned in the fire 

my body is a pill, small, and love is the wrong man’s tongue to tell me so
my body dissolves
my body finds men who are water and calls them home

my body is everything that happened to me
love is a thing my body borrows to forget
love is a pill
my body is water.
my body is a tongue and love dissolves
love calls the wrong men home
love makes my body a stain and goes
looking for water on the wrong man’s tongue

love is a house, my body is a bath drawn in floodwater
my body trickles in through the floorboards
love is the carpet that i’ve ruined
love is an alternative to water,
love is just something to do until the wars start
my body is a border drawn up by some man long ago
love is everything that happened in between
love is the floorboards
my body is decoration
love ruined all the carpets
my body is the carpet
my body is the stain
love makes it all dissolve
love is an alternative to home
love is floodwater

my body burned to the ground
my body called the wrong man home
love started the fire
my body is everything that happened after

the wrong man is an alternative to love
the wrong man is a map
home is where he puts the lines
my body is a border drawn by accident
by the wrong man’s tongue
love makes scars on my body and calls them borders
the wrong man mistakes my body for a body of water
love let the wrong man decide what my body mistakes for home
love started the fire

my body is a house on fire
my body drew a bath in floodwater
the wrong man is floodwater
love and the wrong man are an alternative to hating my body
my body is a body of water, poured over everything that happened to me
my body makes every scar an island
the wrong man makes my body small, a pill
love makes the water
and my body dissolves

Contributor’s Notes:

Safia Elhillo HeadShotSafia Elhillo is 22, a Sagittarius, Sudanese by way of Washington, D.C., by way of Brooklyn, and is currently a senior at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in “Poetry as a Tool for Therapy” and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Safia has performed at venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway, and has shared the stage with ?uestlove and Black Thought of The Roots, Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets, and Sonia Sanchez. She is a founding member of Slam NYU, the 2012 national collegiate championship team, and was a three-time member and former coach of the DC Youth Slam Poetry team. Safia was a finalist in the 2011 Women of the World Poetry Slam, and recently released a book of poems, The Life and Times of Susie Knuckles, published by Well&Often Press.

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Issue 3February 14th, 2014
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