Bio Note: I am a poet, artist and essayist. Born in Heliopolis, Egypt, I am of Lebanese origin. I have taught Spanish at Western Michigan University for over three decades. My latest poetry collection, The Taste of the Earth (Press 53 2019), won the Silver Nautilus Book Award; Tea in Heliopolis won the Best Book Award and Under Brushstrokes was a finalist for the International Book Award.
After Lichter by Maria Gust
While all passengers are asleep, I stay up late, bent over my desk until, rising from the next-door cabin, the woman’s voice begins to lull her child to sleep, attentive to the rise and fall of her voice my pencil runs over the page, in a sinuous way echoing the sound of her humming carrying the stories she will surely tell her child when he grows older but that for now are rocking him in the manner of an empty score filled with inaudible words like notes traced with invisible ink only perceived by me who records them faithfully night after night, stringing words and sound waves together as though weaving a necklace in an unknown language drowning her child’s cries and nightly fears within reefs filled with corals and thick-lipped butterfly fish kissing away the sadness and longing for the home they left behind and the pains yet to come.
First published in Blue Fifth Review
Writing in Dust
Let’s weave braids of dust rich with time’s unspeakable debris, broken voices, whispers, dried tears, insects’ wings. Doesn’t most of it come from our discarded skin? Or is it the residue of fleeting breaths hidden in pillow edges and seams, my kitten’s fur, conjuring my old cat’s scent alive in this impalpable, minute form? And is it true you can clone someone with just one hair, one speck of flesh, all of which hovers around you? Some say don’t clean too much, a house full of dust is a sign of laughter, of good times spent forgetting how to clean. Some say chasing spider webs in every nook and corner isn’t healthy while unaware of those nesting in one’s mind. Let’s shake the dust in our heart watch it fall like snow in a crystal globe, paint open shutters, let the wind in or think of what we might write in our own dust as on a sandy shore, express the unthinkable, unravel what informs that dust, let it settle at will, heavy as sand in an hourglass.
First published in Nazim Hikmet Fourth Annual Poetry Festival Poetry: A Chapbook of Talks and Poetry Award-Winning Poems
©2022 Hedy Habra
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