When I was ten years old, I was glued to our living room tv watching news reports about an airplane that crashed on the coast.
As I lay in bed that night,
I could feel the water lapping around me
my pillow is wet cold sand
death by suffocation
the loss of precious life.
I was cold
for days after.
I am nineteen years old and there isn’t a time I pass by that stretch of the ocean without thinking about it.
I wonder if they are missed.
What loss was the greatest?
Grandmother, partner, friend?
I am a lover and my hands caress wet hair, as I try to paint back the color to your face.
I miss the softness of your golden locks underneath my fingertips
the way your touch was so delicate I would wear it on me
your auburn eyes, so warm they make my skin glow, Mediterranean.
I feel like I lose parts of my being in that same stretch of water.
My travel back and forth,
Beirut then South,
the South then Beirut,
is a process of missing.
I’m missing from my parents’ afternoon tea,
I’m here for my aunt’s Sunday morning coffee.
I miss when life was not a compromise between two worlds you love to hate that you begin to disassemble both of their parts trying to fix the other.
So I write love letters to the South-
I hope it writes me back.
I go to bed with Beirut-
I hope I don’t have to wake up alone.
I miss the things that are no longer there
and whenever I come back to hunt them, they’re long gone
making me miss them more.
I could almost taste my mother’s honey and lukewarm water but it doesn’t slide down my throat
I could almost feel my lover’s embrace at night but I’m only falling off the edge of my cold bed
I could almost picture what I’m missing but I can’t communicate it.
miss not yearning so much.
The ache is for times I liked and didn’t.
My missing knows no sense.
I miss my mother’s love even though it was never there,
I’m aware I make it sound like I’ve known it.
I miss my brother because he’s four countries to the north,
I’m aware I never miss him when he’s here.
I miss my bed all week but I’ve swapped four in just the last year
I miss all the versions of myself I no longer am, the ones drowned in the sea.
As I lay in bed tonight,
I wonder if I’ve been reduced to missing
I wonder if my missing is what makes me absent, missing from myself
I wonder and my pillow starts to feel like sand.
I am cold
By Jana Haj Ali
Jana Haj Ali is a fourth-year Architecture student at LAU. She has been writing and performing poetry since the tender age of 5-years-old. She kept her work private after she graduated from high school and allowed herself to experiment away from any eyes. Jana’s endeavors into the world of design, eventually, funneled back into her writing, allowing her to channel and appreciate the sensory and visual, all in an attempt at making the reader feel and experience with her. She believes writing and architecture are both means of storytelling, as she is currently trying to recount and reclaim her own stories through them.