Reading at a Table
Head bent over an open book, she sees her hands become wings,
rustle through the leaves, caress her forehead in a flight in still motion
while her head splits as she reads two pages at a time, frontward
backwards, rehearses the plot, rewrites the story, lips half-open. Her
smile brightens the pale fire rising from the flame trapped inside the
lampshade; its ebb and flow casts a faint light over the man in the
background draped in a tropical robe, a puppy held against his chest,
both faces encased tesserae, the glow sealing them within gold leaf.
Mouth agape, the woman doesn’t notice how her table shrinks, how
her hand flutters faster. Her feathered fingers erase distances, write in
the margins, words dance under the hollow shaft that is her wrist.
She finds herself writing in the book’s blank pages: her calamus fills
leaf after leaf with signs guided by the master’s brush. Her smile is a
sliver of moon now lined in liquid gold like the wild flowers in her
hair trapped in a mosaic of dreams.
This poem was first published by Pirene's Fountain and in Hedy's book, Under Brushstrokes (Press 53 2015).
Hedy Habra is a poet, artist and essayist. She is the author of three poetry collections from Press 53, most recently, The Taste of the Earth (2019), Winner of the Silver Nautilus Book Award and Honorable Mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award; Tea in Heliopolis Winner of the Best Book Award and Under Brushstrokes, which was a Finalist for the 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 seventeen-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the net, and recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Award, her multilingual work appears in numerous journals and anthologies. https://www.hedyhabra.com/
The Ekphrastic Review
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