Haya Khalaf is a writer and Year-2 student at BHSEC Cleveland.

1.) Poem Inspired by Nikki Giovanni Talking about the Inner Child 

As the child burns the life and stock within 
I feel his hunger to be heard rush through the tastebuds of my tongue, 
The same way my skin cries in goosebumps 
when it listens to it’s rage dwell into tears in the night. 
The child is not safe here,
But it knows home too well to say goodbye.

2.) Making Sense of a Funky Metaphor

My heart feels like a frog
Its legs and eyes almost locked in place, 
while the bulge in its throat rises out and collapses in like a pattern 
When it’s hungry, the frog spreads its mouth open and snatches its food with its tongue,
Straight back into its mouth. 
To be, in the same pattern 
Still in place, yet beating like a drum. 
The ways in which my heart sits in between my rib cage— locked in place 
Yet I hear its voice in my throat, 
It’s hungry for more.

3.) Poem in the Form of a Letter:

Dear body, 
Are you tired yet? 
From carrying everything that I am and everything that I’m not. 
To hearing the loud cries in my head telling you to move- wait no, stay. 
To dealing with the greatest burden of us all, 
The adventurous soul. 
Why do you separate yourself anyway? 
Whatever happened between you and my soul, 
Why are you two angry at one another?

4.) Creon and Antigone:

It seems to me that death resembles the beauty standards of women. 
Silent, 
Yet sexy in the way it sneaks up next to your neck. 
Admired, 
But out of fear. 
One day—
we are all going to experience life come to a stop. 
But for some, that’s only a new beginning. 
Is that why men are afraid after all?

5.) It’s Like

To be a Palestinian woman is to speak a language of the unheard.
It’s like raising a child that sits in the corner of the classroom listening, 
observing, 
yet his voice is silenced by his peers. 
Or worse— it’s like a child who sees angels float around his body just before he closes his eyes. 
Bleeding, 
Bleeding, 
Bleeding, 
Yet left unseen. 
To be a Palestinian woman is to give life 
And watch its blood seep into the branches of the olive tree. 
Grow, 
Grow, 
Grow. 
But a tree needs water to grow. 
And so the branches begin to brittle and fall to the ground. 
To be a Palestinian woman is like living life preparing for death.