Rewa Zeinati


I was laid off a couple of months ago. Budget cuts // they said. Apologized, then signed out. A friend said they would’ve let us go anyway. What with everything going on. We, the human animals, with highlights in our hair. We drank margaritas and talked about the news talking about us as if we weren’t there. They would’ve let us go anyway, she said. Or maybe they would’ve let us stay. Because diversity, yo, because inclusion. LinkedIn is the funniest app I’ve ever known. If you ask me, I don’t know what’s worse: To be jobless in America or working at an office that sends neutral emails in times of crisis from HR or the president. My father once asked if my boss was a woman. Aren’t you glad you're going places? Sure, I said, that’s one way to look at it. I didn't say, that's not how it was meant to be. I didn't say, if you have a minute, google Mary Barra’s salary.



You call me nomad like it’s a good thing

Who knew that Naples has the world’s highest volcanic risk? I didn’t. I just saw it on Netflix and learned about the fried food and all that death. I can’t stand it when white-collar America gets excited about all the places I’ve lived without thinking about the places I’ve left. As if I had a choice in any of it. To move to this desperate land everyone’s so ready to emulate. Did I just say emulate? How lucky to have been to so many countries. How lucky to have seen so much. How nice to be able to travel. Are you a citizen yet? You don’t even have an accent. What’s it like to live in that city, you ask and ask and ask. What’s it like to live, I want to bark back. What’s it like to not give a shit. To only have to worry about the weekend and the weather. To choose to watch the news or whatever. To make a big fuss about sports teams or pets or when you missed a single episode of The Bachelorette.




The deer live with us and the squirrels and the apples and the songleaves on barebranches and the nightfall and the woodpecker and our neighbor’s cat and her neighbor’s dog and the birds and their families and the rouge river and the sketched lakes and the beaches with sweetwatershores and the smoke of picnics and the corn and the pine trees and the lavender and the wisteria hanging low and purple and the earthpetunias and the raccoon digging homes under the porch and the beaver and his wife and the afternoon and the peaches that get eaten right off their motherbody before our humanhands get a chance and the chipmunk and the mouse inside the house that we poison with poison bags and the June bugs and mosquitoes and the skin of watermelon cold on the middle shelf and the roasted peanuts and the toosmallcoffeecups and the boiled water to brew something and the lonely grocerystorepeach that sits on my desk and the roundwarmth that comes through the window that sees all of it but is never seen.



AuthorRewa Zeinati, an award-winning poet and writer, is a naturalized US citizen with Lebanese and Palestinian roots. She is the author of the poetry chapbook, Bullets & Orchids (Corrupt Press) and the founder of Sukoon magazine. She holds a BA in English Literature from the American University of Beirut and an MFA from UMSL. Her work is found in Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Natural Bridge, Best Small Fictions, discontent, Mizna, The Spectacle, New England Review, AAWW, Guernica, among others.