Bio Note: I am a poet, artist and essayist. Born in Heliopolis, Egypt, I am of Lebanese origin. I have taught Spanish at Western Michigan University for over three decades. My latest poetry collection, The Taste of the Earth (Press 53 2019), won the Silver Nautilus Book Award; Tea in Heliopolis won the Best Book Award and Under Brushstrokes was a finalist for the International Book Award.
What Did You Think I Do When I’m Doing Tai Chi?
Eyes set on hands flowing as an ink brush: that’s when my best strokes are continually rehearsed over invisible rice paper. The air becomes dense, I move as in a dry aquarium. Each gesture creates airwaves pulling me back and forth as words rearrange themselves, unfold effortlessly on a constantly renewed board where signs and shapes merge and fall like autumn leaves speaking within hidden folds.
Originally published in Tiferet Journal
I had Never Seen a Dead Man Before
Until my father-in-law died that summer in Tucson, Arizona He seemed to sleep in his suit and tie, expressionless, the color of death freezing his shrunken features, almost youthful in his eighties as if an artist's pencil performed a final facelift, inverting lines for a last farewell. I knelt on the velvet rest in prayer. thinking of the fig tree we once planted together, of how he always saved the juiciest fig for me: "Here," he'd say "this one's from your tree... see how well I care for it?" ~~ I felt a pang in my chest, leaped years and years back to a January morning: a young child, taken away for the day, only to return to a house filled with absence, where all had forgotten how to smile. I was never told what had happened that day, in Heliopolis. “Your father is in the hospital,” they said. I awaited your return, week after week, unable to understand the silent procession, charcoaled silhouettes shading spaces once forbidden to our clumsy hands, beveled doors now wide-open, black skirts hiding pink damask silk, flowing over gilded Louis XVI chairs and Bergères like a flock of Egyptian ravens, threatening my caged love-birds placed at the balcony edge.
Originally published in Luciole Press
©2023 Hedy Habra
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