White Flag for Egypt


Salma Elmehdawi/The Observer

A stranger feigning patriotism waves a white flag;

he is in my body, his front teeth curve into white flag.


Over there is my country, its limbs crooked

and warped like a tree’s root, refuses white flag.


My child in the grass,

rocks in his fist slay white flag.


My mother in her iron bed,

eyes shut like doorknobs, craves white flag.


My sister flossed between his teeth like meat,

spit her out and over her lay white flag.


Back there is war, stripping in the dark,

her tease begins and ends with white flag.


In Arabic, there is peace in “Salam” derived from “Salma”

meaning “safety,” meaning never delay white flag.