History gallops over the margins of your page, what’s a story, but its plural all over the world? Arabic lulls ageless in your ears, but to you what most matters is temporal in this world.
The Sheikh with a gold pen in his pocket, the girl lathering her father’s head with musk,
and you—pearling over Whitman’s poems—all have a lover’s quarrel with the world.
A riddle of childhood loss soaks the rearview mirror in an Arizona desert,
and you drive past the unsaid but ignite nothing immoral in this world.
When you put your head down to grass to gaze at the fallen sparrow,
your eyes met rest in its body and what’s silent became oral in the world.
The child, splintered with too many voices, hears only yours,
and her paths, dismantled of sound, light up murals of this world.
A sweet theft, a heavy hour of grief, and a ghazal posturing for friendships
that never fade, vine-leafed gardens in which we hide against the perils of this world.
Her face is a balm against fracture; the light on her moon is a cheek you return to,
and you say time has no stride against her flushed lips, flickering corals of this world.
How else to bundle this dark where pillow meets dream,
and the one acquainted with the night rises like an immortal of this world?
Deema K. Shehabi
Deema K. Shehabi is a poet, writer, and editor. Deema is the author of Thirteen Departures From the Moon and co-editor with Beau Beausoleil of Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here (PM Press), for which she received the Northern California Book Award's NCBR Recognition Award. She is also co-author of Diaspo/Renga with Marilyn Hacker. Her two plays “Light not Touched by Fire” and “A Handful of White Petals” were performed by the Arabian Shakespeare Company’s New Works Festival, and she is the winner of the Nazim Hikmet poetry competition in 2018.