Elina Katrin

Elina Katrin


at 12

i saw you last
you were still stealing
the clothes i left behind
in the closet of my childhood
bedroom          it’s funny
how hard i tried to translate
american puns     to hear my
foreign life reflected in your laughter
i was your age when we touched syria
last        do you remember
our grandmother and auntie pinched
& kissed our cheeks       their tongues
ululated us through the goodbye
that no one knew would be
our final
          do you remember
how at first the absence
did not feel like loss     felt
like an inhale     like
a book spine cracked open

at 15

the story repeats itself
one day i hold you          as gentle as
an open palm around a ripe persimmon
                close my eyes
and it’s three years later and over
a whatsapp video chat i see a face
and try to recognize in it
              my sister
the wars divide us infinitely
and in them       out lost ligature
a canopy of yearning
your clothes outfashioned me
your laughter faint against the phone
screen      it’s three years later
and the eyes facing me are that of
our grandmother            are that of
a woman young with curiosity
madlen,         i remember you a child
yet now you are            an inflorescence
where once there was a seed

Born to a Syrian father and a Russian mother, ELINA KATRIN is now bicoastal, residing in-between Southern California and Northern Virginia. Her debut chapbook of poetry If My House Has a Voice is forthcoming from Newfound in 2023.