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Sexton Nights

By Majda Gama

“I have gone out, a possessed witch,
 haunting the black air, braver at night;”
                                                       Anne Sexton

I wanted to be Her Kind, to go out a hennaed hand-
maiden, sneak across the rooftops of Jeddah dome-by-dome,
until I reached the coastline of the eternal bride.

Hold court where the young men drag race in bespoke
cars while women promenade along the sea & later tell stories
from cloistered bedrooms about the faces glimpsed in the cars.
A woman just becoming a woman, that kind.

From the right tribe at the right time, serving the qahwa
with the correct hand, the freshest juice from the ripest
fruit, the smallest petit-fours in the city to guests
who will speak of my poise to their brothers or sons.

I’ve stood in the dust awaiting my driver while strange men
whisper to me, fled in a tangled manner across the leather
backseat, from the gaze of the cars as they press close, closer:
old bearded men follow me home in a cluster. A woman
like me is up to no good. I have been this kind.



NOTE: On June 24, 2018, Saudi Arabia lifted the ban on women driving, but entire generations came of age without that freedom.

Added: Friday, July 6, 2018  /  Used with permission.
Majda Gama
Photo by Sara Gama.

Majda Gama is a Beirut-born, Saudi-American poet based in the Washington, DC area where she has roots as a Punk DJ and activist. She has read her poetry at the San Francisco Lit Crawl and the PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. She is a 2017 Best of the Net nominee and a Neil Shepard Award finalist. Her poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Duende, The Fairy Tale Review, Jahanamiya (the first Saudi feminist literary journal), The Normal School, Slice, The South Dakota Review, Wildness, and the anthology of 90’s pop culture, Come As You Are. Majda is Poetry Editor for Tinderbox Poetry Journal.

Other poems by this author