Creative Minds

Vol. XXII, No. 1, 2024

By Nour Abi Chakra (BS ’20)

Nour Abi Chakra is a medical student who started her journey at AUB seven years ago when she entered as a biology major. She has embarked on a new adventure and is publishing a book of poetry entitled Exist-tense. Through her work, she explores existential anxiety, temporality, and the angst of being.


Wanting to crack your shell, like one of these Matryoshka dolls, These hollow statuettes filled with increasingly more mediocre versions of themselves.
Crack it and get out of this heavy body, prick this wooden interior,

For the oxygen to reach in,
For the viscous breaths to get out,
For the getting up to be lighter
And the photons less burning.

But you just stand there with your frail body and its dangling limbs,
These maladapted extensions you never know where to put.
And you stand there, trying to decipher the parallel realities,
Running simultaneously in this exact moment,
Leaving you behind, not even able to grasp one.

And you hide under the fat waves of your darkness,
This thick blue cape weighing heavily but shielding you from the world.
Because it feels hideously safer when you know how unknowable it is,
When you memorized every single one of its parameters,
Desperately recited them like an incantation, to protect you from pain.

How amorphous its water is, and how inconsistently feeble it makes you feel.
How taciturn it is, and how simple conversations feel unbearable,
How fluid it is, and how each thought holds the previous’ tail,
infusing your neurons viciously.
How still it is, trapping you under layers of thick ripples,
barely enabling you to move, even less function.

How turbulent it can get in a fraction of time, only to sway you between
The depth of your pain and the shallowness of your breathing, between
The abysmal minutes and the peeling crackling layers of your existence.