Saturday, March 14, 2009

Poem: Hands


by L.Hashim-AlBayaa

small hands
smudged by hazelnut-filled chocolates
impatiently reach toward the neck of Sittu’s thobe

a leathery henna-stained hand emerges
with unhurried precision
tissue -- all but dissolved in salty wetness is unfolded

a shekel moist with old woman’s musk

a silent exchange ensues
one calloused hand (were there three fingers or four?)
claims its prize
while the other (this one has five) pours

dark liquid
its dizzying sweetness shocking the nose
flows into a glass no longer clear after three hours of customers

a moment long awaited
the kharoob feels syrupy and thick on the tongue
the day’s heat having leeched out the possibility of refreshing coolness
(that’s okay when life is not known to be refreshing)

(yes, it is four fingers!)

the four-fingered hand retrieves the glass
now not only cloudy, but decorated by chocolate finger prints
(a few more customers’ hands will rub them off)

Sittu smiles
her slow hand reaches down the neck of her thobe to pull out a hard caramel

small hands
in their never-ending search for sweetness
struggle to release the wrapper welded to the caramel by Sittu’s heat

trembling leathery hands wipe tears
flowing down a face creviced by memories of small hands
now hidden from sight beneath a white shroud.

No comments: