mantra review

Spring 2018



Ke nin ke a ee ke ees

Tatilayah was built on a hill
                    the inundation would leave the village
                                        a desert island for two months a year

toos e onas toan oa
noan ameem

                  Anxiety of nile crocodiles promise a rich silt

                                  blooming cotton once the water recedes


The Aswan dam stopped the flood
                                          and the cotton staled

Let them be ashamed
And be scorned,
Those who seek my soul:

Americans came to Tatilya
Exchanging faith for literacy
God bared the land for a grander scheme

Let them be turned back—
ward and put to shame,
Those who wish to do evil

Coptic crosses bare brittle memories in my father’s family
Gidu learned English with an accent subtle enough for salvation,
singeing away sin from our unwashed tongues

Let all who see You
Exult and be glad in you:
Love your salvation

Tatilayah and Gallebaus shame us like our
coptic names. Gidu became a Seventh Day Adventist pastor
And Teta tells me to call her “Grandma” now

Let those who love
Your salvation say :
“Let the Lord be Magnified”

Teta tells me we can now die a literate death
But I hear how clearly she says it
And I wish we never left

Antony Fangary is a Coptic-American who lives in San Francisco. He is a MFA student of Poetry at San Francisco State University and was the Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 State-wide Ina Coolbrith Poetry Prize. This is part of a collection called "Ya Kharabi" where the poet investigates the disenfranchised, yet problematic culture with which he was raised in. You can also find his work in Welter, Waccamaw, Left-Hooks, Metonym, and more.

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