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crip wisdom ghazal

By Tala Khanmalek

unbound pages carry my inheritance from Baba
a strategy to get around the system, like Baba

after more surgeries and swap meets confined him to bed
how you passed the time in pain, I couldn’t fathom, Baba.

all night he would read tales about the Orient express
each chapter pried out (thrifting was a custom for Baba).

even paperbacks are too heavy to hold, he said—but
the weight of English words, how can we overcome Baba?

I balk at pieces of stories binder-clipped together.
natars, you can rip books apart: crip wisdom by Baba.




Listen as Tala Khanmalek readscrip wisdom ghazal.”

Added: Monday, October 31, 2022  /  Used with permission.
Tala Khanmalek

Tala Khanmalek is a writer, activist, and educator. She was a 2020 Voices of Our Nations Arts (VONA) fellow, 2021 Anaphora Arts fellow, and 2022 Periplus Fellowship finalist and Radius of Arab American Writers mentee. Tala’s creative writing appears or is forthcoming in Meridian, Barzakh, Zoeglossia, Indiana Review, and more. For more information, visit Tala's website.



Image Description: Tala Khanmalek looks directly into the camera with a cream-colored wall in the background. She is wearing a mustard-colored sweater, rosey lipstick, and eyeglasses. Long dark brown curls frame her face and cascade on the right.

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