Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Avrina, a small gift over distance

Mistress of the words
hoarder of nothing, old mugs, old men, memories
you sleep next to my bed, wrapping with a blue sleeping bad
I tiptoe terribly at four a.m. over your dreams yet

wake you up, I apologize then jump on my bed
as you turn off the lights, we talk about men with bright eyes
colored; blue, green, hazel. Intimate forehead kisses , novels,
until we fall asleep, between sleeps, realize we keep at bay what helps us swim

navigate earth, hoarders of people, memories and breath
in the mornings I can hear you pray, mumble
incantations to banish out fear, in grace and redemption
my eyes, unopened still astounded by how you live and learn

I remember the day we first met, behind a brick house
a hunt for food that would separate us only briefly
then connect us in kitchens where we burn toast, chopped steak,
dragged glasses of bad wine, fumes of cigarettes.

I remember opening lines
in her stories, falling slowly in my head
a sense of wondering how could someone who sees clear into
everything write  in the deep, without saying much?

how can someone who sleeps with the sea
describe so perfectly, carry it like a child in her pocket
land? I remember reading her travel-logs
pausing at how she carries all of herself, when she moves

I remember the time she left, to Italy
how she said take care, bless you, thank you
how the three months of using her red bike
were bumpy

how at the end we discovered her bike had no breaks
like her, not hindering any moment of joy
or peace, or even fear of washing her
a baptismal of freedom and fantasy

I remember the time she disappeared in her own house
swallowed by one of the bedrooms, into sleep
as I left all I could think of was
how I should have checked if she was breathing before I left

I remember her feisty spirit, an ivory sari draping
her waist, dancing in face-paint and Halloween costumes
sitting in the middle of Camden market with our feet out for the wind
crunching on rainbow colored M&Ms  while trying to plan a life ahead

I remember how her words made me cry on my birthday
how I could feel an Indian summer in the middle of December,
in a rainy Palestine
how when she speaks, I am moved

we write poems together, talk about men with softer eyes
exchange our lives for places, pride, other faces
yet what stuns me most these days is a memory
of watching her leave my apartment for the first time in a black cab,
 without a tear in my eye
after I closed the door, I knew I wouldn't stop crying

when we meet again
we won't be the same
but like sisters, we will find the words
long after we hug hello.

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