Houriyeh's Instructions

from by Marcel Khalife



I thought one day of leaving, but a sparrow
landedon her hand and slept. It was enough
that I fondle a grapevine in a hurry for her to
know I was filled with wine. It was enough
that I go early to bed for her to clearly see
mysleep, and extend her night to guard it.
Enough for her to know my days hover
around her and in her view.

My mother counts my twenty digits from
afar. She combs me with her golden lock and
searches in my underwear for foreign women,
and darns the hole in my sock. I didn't grow
up on her hands as we had wished: she and
I, we parted ways by the marble slope, clouds
loomed over us, and over some goats
that inherit the place.

There is no time around you, mother, for sen-
timental talk. You knead the afternoon with
basil and bake for sumac the rooster's crest. I
know what wrecks your punctured peacock
heart since you've been expelled twice from
paradise. Our entire world changed, so our
voices also changed. Even the greeting
between us fell like a button over the sand,
echoless. Say: Good morning! Say anything
for life to grant me her dalliance.

We meet only as farewell at the crossroads
of speech. For example, she says to me:
Marry any stranger more beautiful than the
neighborhood girls, and believe no woman
but me. And don't burn to illuminate your
mother, that's her lovely task. Don't long for a
rendezvous with the dew. Be realistic like the
sky. And dash like a colt into life. And be who
you are wherever you are. And carry no more
than your heart's burden.

My mother lights up Canaan's final stars
and tosses her shawl in my final poem!


from Fall of the Moon, released April 9, 2012



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Marcel Khalife Houston, Texas

Marcel Khalifé is a composer, Oud master & performer. Marcel's creativity, innovations, and humanitarian concerns along with contributions to the promotion of arts and Culture in the Arab world has earned him tens of awards in the Arab World and Internationally. ... more

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