Noor Al-Samarrai


a whole building boarded over
a blank strip over the eyes
can speak even if it can’t see,
feeling the way with palms and pads
if I imagined in, you’d go blind
I had a dream once, where I barred a portrait’s eyes,
two strips of card-stock and a pair of push-pins
through the skin above the lids,
my hands were slow
Tony told me that Delvaux wouldn’t be afraid,
and meant that love can’t be found in fear
somehow existing in the surprise when pain passes,
in shifting sideways. I spent a long time brushing
at my eyebrows that morning.




All under construction, a hill I build by passing up it several times. This could be the creation
of memory, bred like a limb from scratch, solitary starts attached to grow all green. From the
sea foam, a sight of home. You’ve got a way with birds, a voice in the copper, the copper wet
with fog. I imagine up the walls: you squint. They are erect. Some sadness is a slow wreck.
Some, a row of statues missing their plaster. Walking through a grave yard is a careful
business, flossing between stones. I once wooed a dead man back to life by visiting his grave
daily, and the house where he used to live. Sitting in the front yard, waiting, knocking on his
door. Over and over. How many times do you have to say a thing to make it true? And what
if a voice changes? The trick is in the tone. A belief that lives in the body. Your five
o’clock shadow is the shadow of a bird I see, cast on a plum tree.

Noor Al-Samarrai is a writer and performer from California by way of Mesopotamia. A situationist and pyschogeography buff, her poetry has been published by or is forthcoming from CLAM literary magazine, Plain China, North American Review, Poems-For-All and Forklift, Ohio. She has been a fellow at Home School Miami and the Hambidge Arts Center, and is currently based in Amman, Jordan where she is working on a poetry collection and studying oud with the support of a Fulbright Creative Arts Grant. You can follow her adventures at or on instagram @milkkgirl.



Mark Cugini