By Hamda Yusuf


This is not a story of boy meets girl.

This is not a story of boy falls in love with girl.

This is a story of drowning; this is a story of skeletons and civil wars

This is not a story of girl meets boy

This is a story of woman meets boy, goddess meets boy, queen meets boy, empress meets boy




I dreamed a flood before you shut the window

Dreamed his eyes, glistening coldness

Like water

like waterfalls,

like water falling, crashing, breaking open on my chest

Dreamed you standing

Back straight

Shaking knees

Shaky heart


I don’t know when the waves parted to let you cross

But the birds flying overhead spared you

I dreamed it so big and monochrome you could have been the entirety of a sunburst sky

Sweaty-palmed, make me want to plant a kiss on you, plant an orchid in you, let my tokens of affection never die


Loving you was a burning building

A refugee camp

An asylum center

Loving you was a bleeding tongue, like hole-in-sock

Like missing mother





I dreamed a mountain of grieving

But someone else’s flag had already claimed it

I dreamed an ocean of sorrow and you swimming

I dreamed a dry mouth and woke up still drunk

dreamed you a forest filled with fantasy

And cut it down

Filled with dancing, snapping branches, crackling leaves, wet tree bark

I dreamed a forest of you and cut it down


I woke up standing, back straight, shaking knees, shaky heart

I dreamed your lips between each palpitation and I woke to you kissing someone else

I flew the night sky every time I was lonely

Just so I could sleep with the whole world


You slept with the whole world

I dreamed you crying drunk into my breast and woke to me sleeping on your chest

Loving you was like rotting flesh

Like cement, like dancing on graves


I dreamed you a wild garden AND YOU DID NOT CARE

Dreamed you bright-colored mating dance AND YOU DID NOT CARE


I dreamed a screaming canopy and safari ride

I dreamed you rare in the jungle and me a sweaty tour guide

I dreamed me an Amazon AND GOT OVER YOU

I dreamed me a sea-goddess AND GOT OVER YOU

I dreamed me a star-kissed sky AND GOT OVER YOU




This is a story.


This is not a story of boy meets girl

This is not a story of girl says anything

This is a story of winner-takes-all

This is a story of false endings

This is a story of boy does not know what he had, even after she is gone

This is a story of taking herself back


This is a story of boy breaks heart

Girl gets over boy


Girl becomes goddess




I dreamed light and I woke up alone.