“No Room in the Rubble” by Khalid Abu Dawas

No Room in the Rubble

I used to pray for
a wild soul

risky enough to give me
part of herself

when she knows
it is likely I will not
come back

when she knows
I have a habit
of placing my chest
before gun barrels

but now
I make sure not
to have a heart
to come home to

I pray
no one places bets
on my hands
to hold them

Fear
is the only partner I want
Who’s willing to travel oceans
with me
To make sure it is standing
Between me
and a uniform

There is no room
in my hometown’s rubble
for you.


A Palestinian American from San Diego, California, Khalid Abu Dawas is currently working towards a BA in Global Liberal Studies at New York University. Most recently part of NYU’s 2017 CUPSI slam team, making it to finals and taking the title of co-champion, Khalid’s work investigates the meanings of culture and ethnic identity in diaspora. Additionally, his work often weaves in and out of the intricacies of mental health and masculinity, particularly within an Arab identity.  If he isn’t writing, Khalid is probably taking photos with his cat.

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