Elianne El- Amyouni

Fantanesh

There is a girl, who works here,
in Arabesh.

When my boyfriend asks her for man2oush,
he asks for
jebne, or za3tar, or lahem b3ajin,
and she just stands there,
eyes skipping,
smile hanging –
oblivious.

One time,
while he listed and repeated words of his long, white fingers,
she glanced at me,
then looked back at him,
and said, “jebne?”

“Eh,” he said, “eh, jebne. JEB – NE,”

“How’s she gunna know what that means?” I said.

He threw his hands above his head,
“ta3e,” he huffed,
and crouched out the door behind her.

Now,
every time she’s lost, and I’m around,
she’ll look at me,
and wait.

Sometimes,
I’ll say something,
and sometimes,
I’ll wait.

But always,
in that brief moment
of a silence about to burst open,
she and I understand each other,
without language,
without words.

Elianne El-Amyouni is a Master’s student at the University of Balamand, writing a thesis about Modernism and the Collective Unconscious. She is a poet and playwright, currently publishing a book called 21st Century Romance (so far). Elianne also enjoys playing the ukulele, watching old films, and drinking alcohol.