binary. by George Abraham

once i had a body & that body was a [male/female] body. some days i contoured & dressed the [male/female] body & others i spat it out like a pit or seed uprooted from a digestible flesh. in either case it was a [consumable/indigestible] body. something to swallow & fill the void of every [rapist/lover]. how the body turned [solid/fluid] in the presence of bone-shattering shear & chaotic tensors. how it puddled in its own redaction & swelled, stubborn, much like the blood who cannot unknow the turbulence it was born into. sometimes the body feared its own [male/female] reflection, bestial like only a [terrorist/freedom-fighter] can know. the wrong historian refuses to call my body [occupier/ occupied] – says the truth is somewhere in between, is non-binary, but i can think of no [conflict/occupation] more clear than that of this body & isn’t that worth a decisive history? no, my gender is not a refugee caught between the ash of two genocides. i cannot be in exile from a body i was [never/always] home in. i only know how to love the body in [fragments/categories]. my gender is a runaway ghost train. my gender is the mirror speaking back in shattered tongues. i am all of the question marks in your medical books. a [doctor/ anthropologist] once tried to encode the body into a binary rivulet – a sequence of 0’s and 1’s to name this digitized fluidity. but even in its purest form, the body was still a mistranslation of itself

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Contributor Notes

George Abraham is a Palestinian-American Poet, Activist, and Engineering PhD Candidate at Harvard University. He is a Pushcart and Best New Poets nominee, a recipient of the Lois Morrell Poetry Prize, the Favianna Rodriguez Award for Artistic Activism, and the honor of “Best Poet” at the 2017 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational. His chapbook, al youm: for yesterday & her inherited traumas, was a winner of the Atlas Review’s 2016 chapbook contest. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl, Apogee, Hawai’i Review, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Winter Tangerine, and anthologies such as Bettering American Poetry, and the Ghassan Kanafani Palestinian Literature Anthology. He hopes to continue bringing awareness to Palestinian human rights/socio-economic struggles through art. 

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