Woman Looking for the Disappeared Disappears on Way to Conference on Disappearances

by Nour Kamel

Look, people just go missing here
what could be more female than that,
to go missing with no one to claim you
were ever there.

To speak a woman’s existence
demands her existence.
Does she exist if

there is no blood
no virginity tests
no orbital wounds
ashed over.

What can be more violent than never knowing
in which way the bodies were taken.
Does she exist if all that’s left

are her shoes
some heartache
the memory that

I’ve never walked a street alone
forgetting who I am but goddamn
I’ll fake my safety til they believe it too.

Until trust is not just family.
Life is lived above ground.
Love can be in color.

We are the missing, forced
disappearances are causality if you’re cruel,
are oxymoron if you still have a sense of humor.

What is the function of femininity except survive in danger?

My female body is for their violence on the daily.
who has our bravery
plucked out of soft palms.

If we rain it down on them
do we become the bloody invisible
drenched in it to live?

Maybe. Let’s live

before they bring the dying for us
with a silencing and our soldered off parts
they keep in trophy closets.


Nour Kamel is perfectly lit and writes things from Cairo, Egypt. Kamel writes about identity, language, sexuality, queerness, gender, oppression, femininity, trauma, family, lineage, globalisation, loss and food. Their chapbook Noon is part of the New-Generation African Poets series and their writing appears or is forthcoming in Asameena, Anomaly, Rusted Radishes, Khabar Keslan, and Sukoon.

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