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Poetry

You feet! I resign myself to you—I know what you
—–mean,
I behold in my hands your soft heel, your crooked toes
I shape like couplets a cow’s hide, I make it understand
—–the length of your walk, the refrain of your adventures,
—–the places you will see

I put bows on the pink shoes with small heels for someone’s
daughter, to match her soft dress on Eid
I sear holes for laces to hold snug a soldier’s step in the parade

Feet of countless men and women resting at night
—–dreaming of wet grass, of an ancient city’s path
Feet exhaling the vastness of earth in thin rain,
—–sighing wanderlust—I can help you

Feet of mother and son, slain on a street half-walked,
—–I took your shoes
Feet of rebels, soldiers, beggars, dancing girls, the last
—–fisherman of Euphrates
I am the one collecting the scent you left in your shoes

I watch the corpse cleaner wash you with muddy water
I know every detail, the chipped nail polish, henna on
—–broken nails, I even watch when you are missing,
—–lying somewhere in the shrine of unclaimed limbs

I am not the poet of your adventures only, but that lazy
—–summer, you playing football in the valley,
—–the land you left unwalked, I am the historian
—–of all that too

I have watched you run toward evil, I have watched you drag
—–yourself back with shame reformed by it too
My hands are not concerned with finding faults in your path
I leaven leather for what is still a promise

Did you leave the burning land and hail a boat of holes?
Did you jump into the cold sea and float up like a solitary
—–boot on someone else’s shore?

I find in fire a comfort of burning, of feeling my skin peel
I find in water a refuge of silence until my lungs disband


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