where the writers are
This House My Bones
cover of Inclined to Speak

This House, My BonesEnter the houseSit at the table covered in goldA cloth, Sitt embroidered For the third child’s birth.Take the tea, strong and minty,Hold the glass warmAgainst your palms, fragrancesOf centuries fill you, sweetnessRises up to meet you. The youngest boyFuad, shows you a drawing He has made of a horseYou touch his shoulder, strokeHis hair, he loves to talk to strangersShow them his room filled with postersOf extinct and mythical animals: dinosaurs, Unicorns; dragons. You want to linger In the music of his voice, afraid his disappearanceIs inscribed on shell cases stockpiling in the Gulf. Enter the mosque, Admire the archesInlaid with sea colored pebbles,Follow the carpets, long runners Of miracles in thread, your feet still dampSlip against the marble floor.Spines of men curl into seashellsIn the room ahead. EchoesOf the muezzin shoot around youFireworks of speeches and prayersDon’t be afraid because they worshipUnlike you. Be afraid that worship Becomes the fight, faith the enemy;And yours the only one left standing. Some one asks, what should we doWhile we wait for the bombs, promisedAnd prepared? How can we ready ourselves?Do we gather our jewelry and books, And bury them in the ground?  Do we digEscape tunnels in case our village is invaded?Do we send our children across the borderTo live in refugee camps remembering usOnly in dreams, ghostly voices calling their names?What do we pack? The coffee urn fatherBrought from Turkey? The pair of earrings Specially chosen for the wedding day?How can we ever pack anything if not everything?If not the tick on the wall marking The children’s growth, if not the groanOf the washing machine in the kitchen, If not the bare spot on the rug Where Jidd put his feet when he readThe Friday paper? Help them gather things: brass doorknobs,Enamel trays, blue glasses made in Egypt,Journals of poetry, scraps of newspapers, recipesThey meant to try. And what about the thingsThey cannot hold. The beginning of life and allThe memories that follow. The end of lifeAnd all that is left to do. Enter the heartRead the walls and all the inscriptionsThe love of lovers, of children and spouses, The love of stars, and cardamom and long eye lashes. Tour the compartments telling The story: that life was begun with faith,That life may end with folly. See it heaveIn fear that threats, predictions and actionsAre a history already written, spiraling,Loose and out of control. No amount of hopeCan save it. No amount of words can stop it.Hold the heart.Imagine it is yours.