Yasmin Belkhyr has titled her chapbook as if naming one of the girls flitting through her speaker’s dreams. Bone Light is porous and amorphous, exploring lines between the material and immaterial. These poems seem polite, straightforward. Then we find sticking blood, scabs, rust, and teeth every-where. We finish and ask: what happened, who caused these marks, what wore away these figures, this speaker?Ladan Osman, from the preface
“Surah Al-Fatiha,” by Yasmin Belkhyr
In my earliest memory, a man slaughters a goat in my bathroom.
In Rabat, I am nameless, another Moroccan girl to be looked at
but not seen. When goats cry, it sounds just like a baby. I couldn’t
list all the terrible things we do to one another. I remember the
goat kicking out, frantic. The shattered mirror. The stumbled
prayer. I was sick every visit: my stomach heaving dirty water. I
would cry and everyone else would tsk, murmur American. Once,
I kissed someone and I’m afraid it ruined the world. I’ve learned
that it’s not what you do with the knife—it’s how you hold it after.
But how do you hold something like that? Something that never
stops baring its teeth; a voiceless dog, all bite, no bark. I
remember very clearly that I never saw any blood. Honestly, I
wouldn’t even know what to do with a knife. I didn’t even know what
to do with that mouth.