Naja Yazbek is a Lebanese retired teacher living in Ohio, USA. He worked in the educational field for thirty years. In a French private school he spent his entire carrier. Besides teaching, he was the head of the science department and head of many educational sections. He holds a Bachelor of Natural Sciences and a Teaching Diploma as well as a Masters in School Management from Saint Joseph University in Beirut. In America, he finished another degree of “Association of Art and Sciences” from the Cuyahoga Community College. During his free time, he volunteers in a Manor for elderly people, sings in a choir, reads enormously and writes poems in Arabic and English.
I take off my hijab and glance at myself in the grey mirror
Behind me, a large table full of food;
Kibbeh, Tabbouleh, Humus, and thin bread.
My whole family stays in the corner
I smile for them while I catch my cellphone
Hans will arrive in a few
I swallow my fear
wear my white sweater
put on my artificial leg
spray perfume on my neck and in the air
Hans is at the door
he smiles to me with lifted eyebrows
holds me tight and kisses my forehead
asks about my days in Berlin.
We sit at the table
he tastes the fresh Tabbouleh, smiles and closes his eyes with ecstasy
Pours a glass of Arak
Looks at my family in the corner and frowns.
are you the only survivor? he asks
No, I answer, actually, no one survived.
The fourth of August
In front of me the salty sea is thirsty.
In the shades of a frail bitter orange tree I travel back to my childhood.
On the waves of the Mediterranean floats a large cross of blood.
Beirut had miscarriage her dead history.
Behind me, plains of olive trees and crowds following the defunct prophets of this land
What my mother would say if she knew that our family house is bleeding misery and oblivion?
What my father would think if he knew that the Phoenician alphabet has muted?
wear your dark nights and offer your children to Baal,
All the snow on Sanine is not enough to put out your hell.
Not one neighbor would reach out for us
Not one ally believes our tales and shaky lies anymore
I will descend to the shore through forests of dry rocks and soak my feet in the sea
The salty water is thirsty
I would pay my blood to any ship sailing to where the sun sleeps.
I live by myself in a small apartment
doors are so squeezed to the walls like a delivery box, well- folded well- sealed.
I have never felt lonely in this apart.
Many things live with me, around my bed and on my dinner table.
Boxes, bags, empty bottles and tools
a full drawer of burnt-out bulbs and telephone bills dated 1975.
Things, have soul to me, soul from people that have used them, touched them or maybe loved them.
Things still move me with their presence
they speak to me softly in the nights
I feel safe with them
I feel the warmth of my stuffed space
I smile to my card boxes when I pour my coffee in the brownish stained mug
My things are my ocean to fly
My things are the womb where I swim in my water and my pee.
Buried under a misty snowy day, my soul wandered for light.
An invitation came to my mailbox
• “Look- up and smile” said my vulnerability.
• “No sunshine in this dismal day” said I.
• “Look into your heart, countless stars lay underneath, glance at the dreamful squirrels; they are cuddling with the promises of spring. Listen back to your mother’s songs and to the happy youngsters’ play, they are flourishing on the walls of your past”
The swirling snow silenced my thoughts
I folded my vulnerability and swallowed it with little wine. The warmth of hope spurted into my guts, while my closed eyes feast on the sun of the universe.
Poetry in this post: © Naja Yazbek
Published with the permission of Naja Yazbek