The Trials of Odysseus and Me but Mostly Me

by Aya Cheaito & Fadwa Ahmed

Illustration by Sam Berenfield

published November 17, 2017

Perhaps it was the milk of the moon I drank tonight.

Rivers poured vehemently. Poseidon. 
The sea was not as cold as it was in the living room.

The sound of the bombs wasn’t loud. It was lodged in the lungs. Deaf.

I couldn’t hear a word, letters were falling off your mouth. I picked them up from the floor and 


My body is frail, mother. It requires hydration, and non-verbal truth. My third eye is blind. When will Ulysses be back? 

And the nerves, mother, are connected to high voltage. Floating clouds and a fierce growling earth swallow the throbbing. 

The leaves will not burgeon from my mouth and cover my sinful 
body. Mother, I do not look like Mary and the dark circles around my eyes have been 
traced back to unsolicited men and fearful legs and immaculate
wombs and discombobulated shopping malls.  

Bismillah, when Joseph went inside the well, he kissed me (Manhattan Psalm: 2016). 

Ever since mother the lonely shepherds talk to me in my sleep 
and sit in my stomach solitude has lost its madness in my waist and I found a 
knife in my uterus to harness the unborn children dangerous methods for dangerous 
bodies and microwave for the pop tarts. 

—Aya Cheaito

With new breath and rusty letters I’m telling you: 
I’m king of the marble floors so why can’t I stop crying ha ha. 

On my 18th birthday I grew skin and on my 29th the world will die 
when I will it — 

this is the truth and this is from a play 
I’m writing that is so momentous it will become a word.

I used to keep a journal because I
couldn’t read my own handwriting and now I do not keep a journal because I
cannot read my own handwriting. 
Maybe one day I will be able to say: I can 
Not read my own handwriting and on that day I do not know 
whether or not I will keep a journal. 

I don’t know how rain vapor condenses to negate itself to 
become sharper than itself but 
if I can’t tell you: it hurts here
then I can’t tell you anything I can’t even say the word 
I and here we are so 
Poseidon can fuck myself.

—Fadwa Ahmed