by bonnie azoulay in


The skin beneath my eyes

Lay like dark crescent moons

Eclipsing youth with frailty.

These bags were carried

under the eyes

and over the backs

Of my great-grandmother

who escaped Aleppo

and a muddled past

Slanted almond shapes

guided her through Israel

a promised land

And the American dream. 

Showed us all that she’s seen

Through squinted ovals

given to my grandmother 

Handed down to me

A gift wrapped delicately

guised in thin skin

When I was taught

to have thick skin.

Dark pigments

represented dark times

But never weakness.

These bags are strong

Filled with belongings

Of my people and our past.

And yet I try to hide them with 

 a hue foreign to my ancestors.

beige tints and glitter and dusted golds

They knew of no such luxury 


stretch marks.jpg

The stripes between my inner thighs

Run like streaks of rain on a car window

Wrapped around my legs

Confining me to skin

with fluorescent marks

I never asked for.

A God-given tattoo

Symbolic of time passed,

Markings of my growth

Drawn between my limbs

Like road maps taking me

Somewhere I ought to be

Urging me to move forward

traveling with scars

I never asked for

to accept and house them 

as my own kin 

The way my ancestors 

Housed me