Once, my son, these plains were swaying with golden wheat, blue hues would appear after seasonal rains as a prayer for harvest. Now the horizon has become deeply dyed in laundry blue, the day seems steeped in vivid aquamarine, as though the sea had decided to look upon us from above. Across the valley stands the first couple, head bent from time immemorial, a petrified proof of what mankind was able to achieve. Since then no drops of water have fallen, no seed has unfolded its wings, there are no longer workers bent in the fields, only these remnants of a past when we could eat from our sweat. Now we rely on words unsaid, stilled by colours, only allowed to move when lights are out, condemned to observe the barrenness around us.
Come, son, we shall circle the human ruins, hand in hand, rest under the coolness of their elongated shadow: we can enter the arched doors and climb the inner stairs to enjoy the breathtaking view from the man’s hollow heart and the woman’s generous thighs, even reach higher into the curve of her hands held like a vessel gathering dew for the birds that nest in the fissures of the stones. See my son, only now can we move freely about the canvas. Let’s follow that fragile light filtered through the cerulean canopy; see how it leads the way to the inviting doors? Let’s hurry before life resumes in the hallways and someone notices our absence.
This poem was first published by Connotation Press. It also appeared in the author's book, Under Brushstrokes (Press 53).
Hedy Habra has authored three poetry collections, most recently, The Taste of the Earth (Press 53 2019). Tea in Heliopolis won the USA Best Book Award and was finalist for the International Book Award, and Under Brushstrokes was finalist for the USA Best Book Award and the International Book Award. Her story collection, Flying Carpets, won the Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. A fourteen-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, her work appears in Cimarron Review, Bitter Oleander, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Drunken Boat, Gargoyle, Nimrod, Poet Lore, and Verse Daily. Her website is hedyhabra.com
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