Praise be to God and Peace be on the chosen. Many beginnings and endings. Truth has never been so clear. Falsehood has never been so ugly. As we face the storm and embrace the cold days ahead, I offer these poems in hopes of healing. Peace

Sign language

deaf dumb and blind
spoke in sign
gave me the middle finger
I matched his bet
raised him a middle finger
and an index finger
he folded

Morning musk

every dawn I drown
myself in musk
for wise men say
what if sin had a stench?
and I fear one day
it will become true

Holy water

Synchronized swimming
In the seas of His mercy
Perfectly coordinated
Swimming in a straight line
Foot to foot
Shoulder to shoulder
Lift hands together
Dive down to bow together
Beautifully graceful
Peacefully faithful
Assalam alaykum wa rahmatallah
Assalam alaykum wa rahmatallah
All have dispersed
But my filth is worse
So I bathe alone
For a while longer
Till the skin is wrinkled
And the soul ascends with the steam
All have dispersed
But my filth is worse
So I bathe alone


my father’s old books laid on an aging bookshelf
a refugee camp for sacred knowledge and dust
life story nested upon the shelves
before the dust
were different days
reading in a tent
forbidden books
behind bars for a demonstration
fleeing home
leaving pregnant wife
childhood life behind
how do you hide such hurt?
face calm and confident
eyes at ease then suddenly
watery when teaching
he transforms into the bookshelf
so I read between the wrinkle lines
between the eyes
as we hum in harmony
below a palm tree
Sabah Fakhry takes us
Above the palm tree
he sips his tea
and I drink the ink of his libraries
nod at noble simplicity
conversations in long silence
taught me to harmonize without a sound
drown the world
befriend the books
absorb wisdom
but remember
knowledge is in the chest
not in the lines of pages
how do you hide such hurt?
remembering thankfulness
with every inhalation
though every joint and memory creaks and aches
I read my autobiography in his hazel eyes
in aging hands kissed by my lips then
forehead thrice
“you are just like your father”
they tell me
yes, but my bookshelf is empty


beneath the glow of the greenery
the sun steps down from its throne
crown shines through the leaves
to weave a sweater of warmth
for the children sitting in the lap of mother Earth

the hand that holds the pen
must hold the earth
the seeker of knowledge must grasp the dirt
before grasping the truth
in it is the womb
in it is the tomb
start and finish line combined