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meat market

By Lara Atallah

after Lebanon, a country with one of the worst economic crises since the nineteenth century

the price of bread has gone up again. throngs of cars
slouch towards shuttering gas stations. the currency, a farce

with each swing of the gavel, numbers
soar. fifty thousand pounds by day’s end,

what’s another ten thousand? or a hundred thousand?
a hundred and forty thousand pounds to the dollar?

my mother’s aged laugh thunders about the
price of rice. i worry myself out of an appetite.

i want to believe in miracles, instead
i starve gratitude with guilt.

how much for meat today? there are
no lambs left to sacrifice in the afterlife.

the tomatoes wilt into speckled
wax. i bury them in the mountains.

my mother’s aged laugh thunders about the price
of olive oil. i swallow glass in small gulps.

look, the crops melt into a starved earth
peppered with griefs my people speak like spells.

behold, a nation where time itself is a construct.
where every day is simultaneously 1975, 2006, and 2020.

few things are as grotesque as survival but what if
we made this life so beautiful it has no choice but to bend.




Listen as Lara Atallah readsmeat market.”

Added: Tuesday, August 1, 2023  /  Used with permission.
Lara Atallah

Lara Atallah (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist and writer. Her practice explores the political dimensions of landscape, probing both the futility and fluidity of borders as manmade constructs. Her work has been exhibited in the US and internationally and is part of the NYU Langone Collection and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others. Her writing has appeared in Artforum, Camera Austria, Flash Art Italia, Koukash Review, and 128 Lit, among others. She is the author of Edge of Elysium, Vol.1 (Open Projects Press, 2019) and Exit signs on a seaside highway (Everybody Press, 2023).

Image Description: Lara Atallah looks straight at the camera. She has light brown curly hair tucked in a bun and wears a denim button-down shirt.

Other poems by this author