Once upon a time, a dog slept
beside an empty bed in a house
also empty, while all around
the sky sank. Days and nights
the dog spent looking out the window
for someone to save it and soon
fell in love with the view,
a tree the long gone master
had planted for the departed wife.
The dog grew thirstier, and thirstier,
until it could hardly bark,
but it never stopped loving the tree.
The night they came,
the dog, as dogs will, begged
for water but the soldiers left
only their footprints. By morning,
the dog was no more and the tree,
as trees will, said and did nothing.
Hayan Charara is the author of three poetry books, the forthcoming Something Sinister (Carnegie Mellon, 2016),The Sadness of Others (Carnegie Mellon, 2006), and The Alchemist's Diary (Hanging Loose, 2001). He also edited Inclined to Speak: an anthology of contemporary Arab American poetry (University of Arkansas, 2008), and his children’s book, The Three Lucys (Lee & Low Books), about the 2006 July War, received the New Voices Award Honor and will be published in 2016. He is the recipient of a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment of Arts and the Lucille Joy Prize for poetry, and his poems, widely published in journals and anthologies and also translated into French and Arabic, have been nominated several times for the Pushcart Prize. He earned his BA in English from Wayne State University in Detroit, a master's degree in Humanities from New York University, and a PhD from the University of Houston's Literature and Creative Writing Program. He has taught at the university level since 1998 and is currently a faculty member of the Honors College at the University of Houston. He was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Lebanese immigrants. After living in the United States for forty years, his father returned to Lebanon in 2004 and still lives there.