Poems from “The Taste of the Earth” by Hedy Habra

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by Hedy Habra

7 July 2020 | 18:14

Source: by Annahar

  • by Hedy Habra
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 7 July 2020 | 18:14

Hedy Habra at the Portage District Library Reading. (Photo Courtesy of Hedy Habra)

The Abandoned Stone House in Damascus

Don’t ask me what side I am with! 

Don’t ask me about the outcome!


They say rain won’t wash the indelible blood splattered in the

streets, the moans and cries of children resonate in my aching

ears, filling each crack and corner of my heart. Will anyone

open doors and windows wide, let the wind in to erase the

bitter clouds of gunpowder? Faces smeared with dust and sweat

all look alike, come and go as they please, their footsteps

resonate in my temples as over worn out, stretched out drums.

My walls yearn for the daily smell of freshly cut herbs, for the

warmth of the hearth, the familiar sight of the iron pot hanging

over glowing coals. Once, the simmering stew was singing with

spices and children played under the shade of the olive tree. I

can still hear their mother’s humming while separating lentils

from stone.


This prose poem was first published by the Mizna literary journal.

From “The Taste of the Earth” (Press 53 2019)


The Abandoned Fountain

I wasn’t always covered with dust and fallen leaves. Water’s cooling ferns once ran over my marbled veins, opening up and closing like fans. I knew the language of each ripple and secrets rippled through my heart, sighs of joy or pain filled my dreams until the day I woke up in the midst of rubbles.

In the deserted courtyard, children came to wash their naked soles, bleeding from cracks like hardened cement, but I was too dry to soothe their wounds. No one cleans my mosaic tiles any longer, no one rubs my copper faucets, no one sits on the smooth edges that were my pride. At dusk, shadows without a head chase limbs searching for blind shadows.

I hear voices, fractured like shattered mirrors, each searching for an ear, unable to find a match, lost cries soar in dissonance, rise in volutes of pain, circle around broken bricks and stones, disappear through holes and crevices. I know a river of voices runs down the streets surrounded with indifference, endlessly swelling, sending ashen messages to the wind.

This prose poem was first published by The Bitter Oleander literary magazine.

From “The Taste of the Earth” (Press 53 2019)



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Hedy Habra is a Lebanese American poet and essayist, born in Egypt. She has authored three poetry collections, most recently, “The Taste of the Earth” (Press 53 2019), Winner of the 2020 Silver Nautilus Book Award, Honorable Mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, and Finalist for the Best Book Award. “Tea in Heliopolis” won the Best Book Award and “Under Brushstrokes” was finalist for the Best Book Award and the International Book Award. Her story collection, “Flying Carpets,” won the Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention and was finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award. Her book of criticism, “Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa,” examines the visual aspects of the Peruvian Nobel Prize winner’s narrative. Dr. Habra holds a B.S. in Pharmacy from Beirut’s Saint Joseph University. She earned an M.A. and an M.F.A. in English and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish literature, all from Western Michigan University where she has also been teaching. A fourteen-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the net, and recipient of the Nazim Hikmet Award, her multilingual work appears in numerous journals and anthologies. Her website is https://www.hedyhabra.com/

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