“On Loving a Saudi Girl” by Carina Yun

After your beloved leaves, you will take
a ten hour red eye flight back to America.
At baggage claim, you will wait for your bag
to drop onto the conveyer belt, then drag
the weight of Sultan Ahmed across the terminal—
the soumak rug, candle sticks, and pashmina scarves.
In Istanbul, muezzin will call out five
times a day from the minaret. It’s heard
on loudspeaker in every house, and every storefront.
You will wake to morning adhan, not knowing
whether to repent for those moments spent with her.
What is it called when you are wrong to love?
In front of the airport, your mother will find you
soaked with rain. “What happened?” she will ask.
You won’t speak. She will spring open your
father’s green umbrella and hover.


This poem first appeared in Adrienne, Sibling Rivalry Press.


Carina Yun is the author of On Loving a Saudi Girl (Headmistress Press, 2015). Her poems have appeared at Adrienne; Beltway Poetry Quarterly; Cutbank; The Feminist Wire; The Northern Virginia Review; Poet Lore; and elsewhere. She received the Northern Virginia Review Poetry Prize and the Charlotte Mew Chapbook Prize in 2015. Her interests include poetry, visual art, languages (French & Mandarin), queer theory, traveling, and cycling.

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