Poem by Ava Lala

Photos by Isabel Bina

It was an evening summer.
The cars were parked forwards and backwards and the homes were made of brick and mortar
And a sense that things were neither together nor apart 

In the moist air with the slight breeze that stirred the smell of jasmine flower.

The mosquitos were out to feast on our bare ankles
But we were out to play. To dance.
Our hips swayed like olive trees in the breeze. 

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For every willful pursuit that preyed its eyes on our sweet flesh, we tossed them an olive.
They ate our flesh and tossed the pit back to us.

We used it for the taking and laid the pits as a bread crumb trail to lead us back home, when we strayed too far from the path.
Dropping pits in each foot print left behind
To follow
Our pit droppings were a reminder that we were here
For the keeping


We were here for the dance
Coming or leaving
They asked
They asked and like a sweet secret, in that moment we realize the divinity we held in our hips. And in that we transcend from girl to womanhood.
How wonderful that the residue on our skin may become sweet sap to entice the birds.
How wonderful that we held their gaze at the palm of our hands
If only for a moment


We were 12 and the olives hadn’t yet dropped from our hips. But they were sprouting. we tossed them a firm peach and they tossed it right back. 

We were 17 and we tossed them a plum colored peach and they sucked the pulp straight clean. 

We tossed them grapes and they threw back the stem bone. Clean. 

We tossed them another and then they bit too hard and broke their teeth. 

they feasted on our flesh and..

Coming or leaving, they asked
we were here to stay
If only for a moment. 

contemplates mulier. Contemplating women. 

Like a candid Greek statue in our natural habitat, we were always calculating, contemplating 

If only for a moment 

Before the tide stirred our desires into another direction.


Models: Mary McHenry, Lena Howell, Sahara Grim, Lou Baya Ould Rouis

Makeup: Tiana Torken

Clothing courtesy: Cynthia Rowley