Siham Karami

Who I Am

Every heartbeat ploughs a path of nevers,
a cup I know can never be removed.
The anguish when they called me Wonder Woman —
even as a child, my heart recoiled
from a girlhood that was never mine.

On the verge of being, here I am,
already fully man, uncompromised,
though unbulked muscles cry out otherwise—
once you hear my voice you'll know.
I'd die for dogfights, to dare the devil in the sky.
How I love knives, shooting, even more,
the camaraderie of men, among whom I
am just another guy, although this shadow
painted on, this hat pulled down too low,
these birdweight bones almost give me away.

I'm always on the verge, about to be
just one hair-chopping closer, but the shirt
I wear never really fits.
Friends who know my hurt
lies in appearances, lies in the nub
of what identity really means,
know I never snub their ways,
but who I am cannot fit in this flesh,
this chemical constituency of
the woman in the mirror
whose beauty I must bear
but cannot love.

Siham Karami lives in the Florida panhandle where she co-owns a technology recycling company. Her poetry has been or will be published in Mezzo Cammin, The Raintown Review, Angle Poetry, Tilt-a-Whirl, String Poet, Shot Glass Journal, Innisfree Journal, Snakeskin, The Road Not Taken, 14 by 14, New Verse News, and Sisters Magazine, among other venues.