'Arab Men I Have Loved in Passing' and 'City Animals'

Photo by Flip Schulke

Arab Men I Have Loved in Passing

Ayman at the Dallas Fort Worth Froyo


lets his fingers linger in my palms

smiles a secret when he hands back my change


the Yemeni cashier at my gas station

notices when I have been gone too long

urges me to enjoy my cigarettes

the on-call doctor at urgent care


treats my asthma and tells me he

wants to marry a nice Arab girl

beautiful Ali who sang with me on the Jett bus

driving back to Amman from the Petra

it has been years and I remember still his skin

millions of men I have loved in passing

brothers and lovers who have seen me

called me sister, called me home

City Animals

a family of raccoons

checked into my garage

like it's the ritz

living in the penthouse attic

pushing their dexterous paws

against the door

like a key card

rifling the garbage can

like a mini bar


a do not disturb sign

on the raccoons' door knob

when i park

i am waiting

for one to drop on me

in a rabid daze

bite through my hoodie

latch against my skin

at the ER rabies is pretty serious

you pass bleeders

and the broken

pass choleric babies

and toddlers draped

in fatigue across father's lap

pass right into a room

where a nurse treats cuts

drops your pants

a needle in your butt cheek

the first of five treatments

i park on the street now

do not evict them

their squabbles carry

into my bedroom

we keep each other company

wait out the night

sleep easy and quiet

when day breaks.

Mejdulene B. Shomali is an Assistant Professor in Gender and Women's Studies at UMBC.

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