Poem: “From the River to the Sea”

There once was
a way to cross the river,
an old Jewish bridge
from the Tigris to the Euphrates
flowing ancient date honey.

What remains in the heart
of al-yahudi?

the sound of a river
the sound of a prayer
that splits the sea
the simmering of qaymar
thick and creamy
in an earthenware pot
remembered by a river

The Muezzin wakes me,
luminous tongue of my forebears
nourished with refugee camp,
margarine and semolina
soaked in a river.

The scent of Baghdad lingers,
pastries infused with rosewater,
vegetables stuffed with grief,
the grandchildren must eat.

My grandmother
knew of knives
that slashed dreams
bleeding al-yahudi
into the river.

I light a sea of candles
for my grandmother,
for Ezra the Scribe,
for al-yahudi to have a boat
between the river and the sea.

I keep searching the night sky
for full circles,
but my life hangs
by an amulet

and all my rivers
and all my seas begin
and end with al-yahudi.

*al-yahudi – The Jew