lovers’ quarrel with abdelhalim hafez


By Safia Elhillo

“The idea of a balcony death, therefore, hits close to home…Were there not reports of [women] jumping off balconies after the death of heartthrob crooner Abdelhalim Hafez in 1977?”
Tanya Goudsouzian, Death by balcony in Egypt (Al-Jazeera)

you ruined it all by dying

we are all missing the same pieces

then why sing those songs
why make us love each other more than our own countries 

our desires are not our own

why be specific 
why sing to the brown girl if you were just going to leave   

no one believed i was sick

why go in the water
people wash their cars in the nile     

if you had known the water was deep would you have set sail
     if you had known love would leave a scar would you have loved

loving you tips a body off a building

the words for love and wind sound the same in arabic

 why assume i didn’t already know

brownest of the brown girls
   what makes you so cruel to me 

we learned romance from a dead man you understand my problem

you are beside me and your eyes are my darlings
they make me forget the living still beside me 

look      im a sad girl      from a long line of sad girls
doesn’t mean you can talk to me that way   


Safia Elhillo is Sudanese by way of Washington DC, by way of NYC. Safia is a Cave Canem fellow, and is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at the New School. She is a poetry editor at Kinfolks Quarterly: a journal of black expression

Photo Credit: Caits Meissner for Jellyfish Treasury

Photo Credit: Caits Meissner for Jellyfish Treasury