Poems / October 30, 2023

Tablets VII

Dunya Mikhail


They inscribed their lives on clay
and moved away
I hear the echo pulse by pulse



Some memories we chase
like goats away from flowers,
yet we wake one day
to the wilted ruins



Let’s meet in the word forgotten
from the dictionary, and breathe
its air like the smell of the “klecha”
my mother baked for the Eid holiday



In my country, I was a stranger.
In exile, I am strange



The spider built its net
in a statue’s open palm.
For the spider, the palm is home,
not a metaphor of home



Imprisoned in the magical lamp
for years that exceeded even the jinni’s ability
to count; he cannot wish himself out.
His brief freedoms only come
when others wish for a bit of luck



When Human cries,
Dog thinks the world is ending.
When Human smiles,
two stars from the world’s end
glitter in Dog’s eyes.
When Human makes war
or any other ridiculous thing,
Dog begs to curl up together on the rug



She calls aloud for the absentees
in her country’s air,
calling day and night
until they cling in her voice



If you don’t carry the sun
within, then why does light
spill from you everywhere?



Deep inside the beach,
moss grows around a rock,
a soft embrace.
When the water washes it away,
it trembles like the gestures
we make waving from balconies
for our loved ones
in pandemic times



We remember the days from the words
of our beloved people



They kept drawing circles on the ground
as if their alphabet is a feeling with no end



Sometimes I scribble images
because I don’t have the words



I ask the moon: Which is more worthy of love
your light or darkness?
Moon answers: A worthy love accepts both faces



On the chess board,
a pawn crawls to the last square
to survive



Earth, too, needs a space



I time-traveled to you
for a question



Through closed eyes,
she saw their stolen bodies,
their scattered feathers,
and their flutes



Sad silence is translated into all languages



The first moment of war:
a slippery fish from the river



The cage owner reminds the sparrow:
life outside is inferno.
One day the sparrow flies away
and there in the heights,
overlooking the ruins of the world,
the sparrow discovers the cage owner was right.
It sings about the ruins,
a beautiful song with no walls



Does the clock know
that its little ticks
make eternity?



With one click,
I can download your smile
and everything will be good



Let love be
the new world order

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Dunya Mikhail

Dunya Mikhail works as a special lecturer at Oakland University.

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