Fives logo – a stylised number five

with Marwa Helal

The last thing that made you smile

DJ Khaled talking to his baby lion, DJ Khaled rockin out with his baby lion, and, see also, this kind of kind wildness: leopard and baboon.

A secret

I have been called Animal. I was the new kid. Always the new kid. This was the suburbs. Ohio. Sixth grade. At least once a day I think about the things—I will not call them names—people call other people. And I wonder how. What do you have to be? Not who do you have to be. But WHAT do you have to be, to call another person anything other than their name, or something loving, something beautiful? To call is to become.

The last thing you wrote

the hipsters are going to those cushy jobs they hate in manhattan and i am going in the opposite direction to unteach poverty to teach scholarship (get money)

Followed by a tedious to do list with the following categories: FINISH; REPLY; APPLY; SUBMIT. There are also some song lyrics scribbled on the side.

Your favourite city

Cairo, Egypt. It taught me everything.

What you’d place in a time capsule

A print of an iPhone 6s featuring a picture of Nefertiti on its screen in a polaroid on papyrus signed with a lionface emoji and the number 42; a small packet of Bustelo; eyeliner; a lunar calendar; a pair of socks; strawberry seeds; and Neruda’s Book of Questions.

Marwa Helal is a poet and journalist. Her work appears in Apogee, Hyperallergic, the Offing, Poets & Writers, the Recluse, Winter Tangerine and elsewhere. She is the author of Invasive species (Nightboat Books 2019) and the winner of BOMB Magazine’s Biennial 2016 Poetry Contest. Helal has been awarded fellowships from Poets House, Brooklyn Poets, and Cave Canem. Born in Al Mansurah, Egypt, Helal currently lives and teaches in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in creative writing from the New School and her BA in journalism and international studies from Ohio Wesleyan University.