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Recorded for Poem-a-Day January 28, 2019.
About this Poem 

“As I write about the things I'm trying to heal from, I find myself wondering what it means to ‘survive’ trauma. Did all of me survive? I doubt it; I know some things about me are fundamentally different now. Who, then, am I working to be as I try to heal? This poem is me trying to be honest about what I find it hard to let go of, what I'm still clinging to, and why.”
—Noor Ibn Najam

Untitled

No matter the rush of undertow
everything else is still
here. I scrawl your name 
at the bottom of the river
I sing it and it sings me 
back. What I’d give for a name 
so keen     it whittles
the valleys of my neck. I’m forever drenched 
in this night, and you 
no longer exist. The river catches 
the sky’s black, ink 
meant to preserve a memory. I stay
because it’s easy. Here. I relive 
what you did to me, find myself again 
in the water—swollen and sullen 
as a bruise. I trace 
and retrace, graffiti 
every river’s bank, drown 
into ecstasy

instead of moving on with my life. 
I wear what you did to me 
like gills, a new way to breathe. 
I jump into the river
for days. I forget I have lungs at all.

Copyright © 2019 by Noor Ibn Najam. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 28, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2019 by Noor Ibn Najam. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 28, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

Noor Idn Najam

Noor Ibn Najam

Noor Ibn Najam is the author of Praise to Lesser Gods of Love (Glass Poetry Press, 2019).