The Flight of the Swallow

The Flight of the Swallow

What do they know

of the flight of the swallow

or the crane and how it dives?

What do they know

of the life under your eyes

or your smile and how it wanes?

What do they know

of the gathering of the night

or her waist and how it sways?

What will they know

of the taste of the sea in your bread

and your embrace trembling under my sleep?

They’ll know nothing

but the snow gathering under their fingernails

and the horizon as it folds onto itself.

In Two Weeks

In two weeks I’ll be home,

Home that’s no longer home.

In two weeks I’ll be back

Where I left offand I began.

In two weeks I will circle the rooftops

And throw my pigeons into familiar skies,

But my pigeons will not return.

In two weeks I’ll be back in my room

That’s no longer my room, for I

Have forgotten the color of its walls, and it

Has renounced my smell.

In two weeks I’ll be sleeping in your bed,

Like I used to, when it was my bed.

In two weeks I’ll smile, and they’ll smile,

And behind the teeth the distance will cringe.

In two weeks I’ll be holding your hands,

Looking into your eyes and remembering

Who you are and who I was.

Ten Years

Ten years is what it takes

For us to turn into weed;

Ten years is what it takes

For the white roses to shed,

For an oud to rot and a flute rust.

Ten years is what it takes

For the humid nights to yawn

And collapse on the sidewalk in hazy slumber;

Ten years for all the winding stairs

to lose their stones,

For the spruce to grow dusty,

And for bright eyes to tire of the light.

Ten years, and we’re no longer there.

The curve of the road,

The cliff and how it hangs,

The cypress that lined the broken pavement

And swayed like they could read our minds;

Your room still fragrant

with fragments of my breath

plastering its innards

like dank wallpaper

held by song;

And the worn leather couch

Where I first believed in God

Still dimples under my ghost.

Ten years is what it takes

For the waves to take root on my shore,

Ten years for the promise to let go;

Ten years to return

To the first syllable,

The fuzzy hair, the freckled cheek,

The shoes flayed at the outset.

And somewhere in the hallways

Ten years before

A boy peers from around the corner

And goes…


Where I come from

trees don’t sleep;

they don’t burn

with all the ache of a sunset.

Where I come from

autumns are a grey shade of green;

they smell of mud

and the earth spilling its secrets.

Where I come from

the ground doesn’t hide

in its blank shroud of silence;

it only glistens, leathery and dark

like the first line of a fairytale.

Where I come from

spring is dull,

only a brighter shade of everyday;

it doesn’t rape the sky

with every shade of pink,

and break the frost

with a vengeful thirst.

It simply stuffs the air

with the smell of orange blossom,

of youth and the mocking promise

of a breeze.

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  • About the autor

    A piece previously published in the print issue of Islamica Magazine between 2003-2009. The following has been an effort to digitize and archive as a free service. Author citations can be found at as we continue to work on improving the digital archives here.

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