Monday, February 28, 2011

bayda to ghadamis.

boy, in jeans and keffiya,
wound tight around neck,
the aircraft can't stop you,

aiming from sky at those above them,
how could they shoot you down?
you have eyes like bomber jets 
and the mouth of a revolution,

you march like free men,
fight like soldiers,
and die like martyrs

i saw them shoot you down,
through grainy, third party video
on my shiny laptop screen,
the air was cool and i was comfortable,
i saw you bleed, as they dragged you 
towards home, i cried for an hour

imagined your mother, 
young-faced, and grey-haired, 
forced to clean blood
that should've never
been spilled in her lifetime
imagined you clutched to her chest,
"weledi, weledi"
i hear someone in the background say
he was only eighteen

we count shuhood like baby teeth,
and your sister's mouth is almost empty.

you are the face of a revolution,
shrugging off terror, 
i watched you dance under bullets,
the country became free
the day we strangled fear,
leaving her corpse blue and mottled,
at the feet of the regime.

this is a revolution.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

bombs over benghazi

it makes me ache that you,
thirteen and long-limbed,
still pale from winter,
had to learn
to wash a body.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


don't let me dream of dead girls tonight.

Monday, February 7, 2011

for my children

i want to water my daughters
so they blossom into modest women
with patterned skirts and bright scarves
covering hair the color of coffee grounds, 
tucked away for a wedding night.

i want my sons to grow like trees
spine and knees like oak trunks,
with laughter like leaves
and hands like branches,
always reached out, 
offering protection
from vast sky 

i want them both to speak like breezes
and love like lightening, need God like
a river, water to quench a dry tongue,
to think fiercely and live happily,
a mother's prayer for her children 

to remember the texture of their father's hair
and color of their mother's teeth

i want them to own memories
entwined with the smell of cantaloupe 
and rainy nights, i want the feel
of sticky mango juice
to make them smile
i want honey to
make them remember their skin
and what it is there for

i wish for them warm springs
and cool falls, forgiving summer sun,
and kind winters
rain like powdered sugar, made to dance in
and only one hurricane,
to ensure they praise God for it all,
every day.

before their birth,
their conception,
before their mother had her hands henna'd
by singing women,
or even met their father's eyes across a room,
this is a prayer for them.