Houses develop cracks in the wall and you fill them all
All my life I have watched you scrape
Every last bit of rice into the pot with sun spotted shaky hands
Hands .. weakened from the weight of holding our family together
Scraping with the appreciation of every blessing that lies in every grain
And distant memories too enduring for time to overcome
Of going to sleep with only poetic scriptures to comfort your soul
and a stomach that hummed with the reverberating bombs that dropped as a means of governmental control…
have passed since you homed this land and the snow has settled on your hair
But not your heart. And I am your past.
the traditions you kiss from my porcelain lips,
the beauty in the scars on my fertile hips.
There’s no country like Australia, she says at 6am when the
Aromatic wisps of Lebanese coffee rise as the fog dissipates
And I eagerly drink from the small cup so she can flip it, turn it up
And she can tell me what my future holds- "I see a white circle and a forked road",
Fragmented pigmented segments of my watercolour dreams
It seems the signs tell of hope and great opportunities.
The shisha bubbles apple and honey flavoured smoke as we sit cross legged
And she sings to me Sabah and Abdel Halim and tells me stories of the old days, the gold days of Lebanese sovereignty.
The times when blood did not fertilise the soil and her grandmother would guide her clumsy, childish fingers into wrapping a vine leaf
The way she guides my hands into wrapping every piece
And she tells me, there’s no country like Australia
The marks of prayer on her forehead attest to her freedom
The land that gave her a chance
The land that let her live out her plans
Recite to me some of your Arabic poetry
The one where you tell your son
You wish you could box up your heart and send it to him
So he could see how meager and raw it has become
And that time has not made it grow more fond
But it has made it unbearable
Recite that one.