At parting, our questions mirrored each other:
Where are you going?
You said that we met too late in life.
But I protest; these circumstances
May prostrate at our feet.
Like Nizar Qabbani, I too
Name you my country, dictionaries
Flinging themselves to sea
To hear your greeting,
Each Arabic syllable unraveling
To caress your exhaled breath.
The difference between our words
Is only a small diacritic.
On the page, we are still together,
Stringing verses into song,
Guided by the sway of Beirut breeze,
Your palms upturned
As if in prayer. And in memory,
The dusk folds and collapses
Against the heat of a slow gaze;
My fingers lingering on your brow.
I can take short breaths
And still smell the sweetness.
Jessica is a poet from Shanghai. She loves art, music, and Arabic poetry.