Friday, May 05, 2006


For Teta, it's 4 years today...

A house full of absences
like a graveyard on a sunny day,
all mine to dip in
as I please.
A language full of words
and I choose none;
I have never been good at choice.
Let it simmer;
anniversaries age like everything else.
I must admit,
I miss him more than you;
fresh absences are tart.
But you loom larger,
lapel and scarf,
like a wide-grinned moon
over my sleep.

These are the vacancies that never fill.
I wonder if you stroll the hundred yards at night
back to your house
and hover over the bed
to plant a kiss on his forehead.
I wonder if you can taste it still.
I like to think that you stop
by the bakery when it’s closed and dark,
caress the wood boards and feel
the flour under your fingernails.
And that you pass by the shoe store
that no longer carries red slippers
since you stopped coming in.
Selma’s ghost meets you across the street
to sell you pretend groceries
behind rolled-down grilles—
even the dead play charades.

But when she visits you pretend
to sleep under the marble
just to smell her hand above.
And then she cries and reminds you
that it’s all over


Crunchy Weta said...

Beautiful, Thank you for sharing.

katy said...

in certain poems, dear, you have this uncanny ability to force waves of shivers down my back. you are brilliant. you create an entire story with so few words -- create an entire world around a few details. am very impressed with this poem, am very impressed with you.

arch.memory said...

Thank you, Weta. And Katy... I'll just e-mail you :)

Anonymous said...

Khalas, THIS is my new favourite poem (of yours).

It is so beautiful that I do not want to talk more about it.

Save that maybe the very last stanza, the one with Ma, shook me.

Is this what you sent Ma some days ago?

Ton frère Ahmad

Anonymous said...

I haven't commented on any of your poems since you started this website. Busy, dull, tired... I don't know why, but I do know that no reason is worth letting a oem such as this one pass me by. I haven't cried over Teta with such agonizing longing as I did when I read your poem. I guess it's because I haven't been remembering what I should have about her. This is what I've been missing. I've been missing the small things about her that made her our Teta. I pass by Mansour Bakery, Salma's grocery store, the small shoe store, and the graveyard so many times but I never imagined her still lingering among these places, maybe because it's so hard to imagine her but not see her laugh, smell the fresh powder she puts on her tender skin, and hug her till she screams:"Ya siteh la7 tiksreeleh dol3eh". I miss her. Thank you for bringing her back to me.
From Boubeyeh

Jano said...

I didn't know your Grandma, but I became acquainted with her by listening to her grandchildren talking about her, and listening to her daughter, your Mother. I never saw her, and I never knew her in real life, but after reading your poem, I can understand why her husband is still obssessed with her, her daughter consider her a goddess, and her grandchildren are still very attached to her despite her absence. I haven't regreted anything in my life as I regret not knowing her. In fact, the first time I enter a graveyard was to visit her, and feel her presence which I can now see is still lingering on the Borj streets. I can never pass by these roads again without remembering her through your words.
From Jojo

arch.memory said...

Ahmoudeh, Mayyoush, Jojo... how good to hear from you! I can't wait to see you all in a week. Thank you so much for you comments. Love you!

Mar said...

My last living grandparent, my only Jiddo is very sick. Hasn't been able to sit or walk for days now.Reading your poem brought back memories of my long gone dear teta and fear of losing my last jiddo.

arch.memory said...

Mar, I hope he gets better soon...