In the Corners

101 Keffieh detail

Ten foot tall
Blue and green
Glow Fish
Hang from the overpass
Marbles are hidden
In pockets of the city

In the early morning
The call to prayer
Kisses my ears
The far-away song
The sound of his breath
The beat of my heart

A terracotta pot
Fresh tomatoes and Tuscan sausage
12 hours of simmering
A true labor of love
But I never asked for love
I only asked for dinner

My boots sink into snow
I feel it leak into my socks
Stone soldiers
Wait to fight heavenly battles
For an emperor
They never loved

The bones float up
And tap tap tap
Against the tops of their graves
I do not envy
The ghosts
In these boxes

He pisses in the bushes
Turns around
Tells me he loves me
I tell him I’m hungry
He holds my hand while we walk
It’s not romantic

The writing
On the wall
Speaks centuries
Silence falls
As the minaret

An observation deck
On the side of a highway
In the middle of a desert
At 1 am
At the edge of nowhere

Forgetting about
The vastness of the garden
I arrive at the garden
Affogami nella vasca
He can’t find me
Un giardino solitario

Love is really just
A chemical reaction
Beer bottles
The ashtray
Drops of rain
A continuous beat

A courtyard in
A cathedral
Was once
A mosque
A crucifix hangs in a mihrab

Smoke curls from his mouth
And floats out the open window
German whispers
To English ears
All the same

A garden wall
Overlooking a vineyard
At night
Is a great opportunity
To stop and
Drink a beer

Stained glass windows
Present pictures
Of heavenly pasts
And holy moments
I stand in
Their colored light

He’s holding your body close to his
But you don’t want him to
The cold makes the grey buildings
The steam of your breath
Means you’re alive

The cobblestone street is uneven
From centuries of movement
The smell of Calabrian spices
On Tuscan meat
On the too-close breath
Of the Italian man

In the dark of Vienna
One euro for a flame
So God can see you
Turn the grind and roll a joint
Smoke to feel the night
Experience twice the candle light

I look at him
I see only the small red light
At the end of his cigarette
Brighter as he inhales
Illuminating his eyes
He looks at me

Wind whips Rome
They stand in line to feel closer to God
A dead city
Feels a bit alive
On weekdays
From nine to five

Artwork by Mona Hatoum “Keffieh”