I keep pitting people against flowers. It’s an unfair contest. I keep pitting myself
against myself. You see where I’m going with this. The notion of the land is never
as compelling as the land. What you say about my body is nothing next to my fat
nipple, its hairy crown. The degree of love people have for dogs, cats, birds, roses
and other demonstrably inhuman bodies is astounding. It is so easy to love what
isn’t you, what is removed, what is alien, what speaks another language, aloof or
affectionate, what brandishes another colour. This goes against what we learned.
That love is difficult. That we must steal to know each other better, to empathise.
That we are knowable. That cohabitating requires cages. I look again at this love
and its lack, wonder if this is why I leash my body, why I still try to root an un
-rootable history, why I worship mortal colour, why I sing & tremble in the after.
Omar Sakr is an Arab Australian poet. His debut collection, These Wild Houses, was shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and the Kenneth Slessor Prize. His new book, The Lost Arabs (2019), is forthcoming with University of Queensland Press.