from The Book of Leaving

by Noeme Grace C. Tabor-Farjani 


Sleepy, always sleepy.

Know this: meandering vessels

tortuous aorta, bone spurs

in cervical spine, non-absorption

of iron and vitamin B, non-absorption

of reason. I plan the trip, you

plan my trap. Travel.

My soul travails.


Memories are jumping out of the baggage. I have not even arrived yet nor have I left. They are yet to be stuffed in invisible compartments, of books and clothing, undergarments, little bags in small bags in medium bags in big bags, all inside a luggage. Do they want to stay? Do they fear getting in the bag, to wake up next morning on a strange bed?

Now they scamper towards trees and walls. They cling on like scent that lingers, hoping I smell them when I come back. But I cannot pack up these walls and trees. I am sad for them, for me.


Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen

but I’d rather sit them down, down

with them, despair, in grief. Fears

that have my mouth clipped,

locking up woes I cannot spit.

Still the hands gripping reasons

cannot brandish them like words.

They are but pebbles to the giant’s swords.

And so I’d rather be still, and sit them down,

unsmiling, unsinging, the unspoken threats.

Sit the stalker down, strip me barren,

Hand all that is left of me to the hungry.

I’d rather have sadness serve me

than sit with those laughter that promise

me cages made out of gold.


Noeme Grace C. Tabor-Farjani is the author of “Letters from Libya,” a chapbook of short memoirs which chronicled her family’s escape from the Second Libyan Civil War in 2014. Her poems have recently appeared and/or are forthcoming in Your Dream Journal, Global Poemic, Luna Luna, Fahmidan, Rogue Agent, 433 Magazine, All Female Menu, Harpy Hybrid Review, and Agapanthus Collective. In 2018, she successfully defended her PhD dissertation on flow psychological theory in creative writing pedagogy. She teaches high school humanities courses in the Philippines and is currently working on a chapbook of poems on spirituality and the body. You can find her on Facebook.