The Box


In memory of Jawdat Imady (1880 - 1958)

Before

You became a box

Concealing an Ottoman sword,

A dusty fez

And sandalwood beads,

Before

You became a collection of family trees,

Folded deeds,

Lands that disappeared

Long before I arrived,

Sketches of horses

And scribbles in the margin

In praise of purity

And Hijazi breeds,

Before

You became a memory

Of hymns affirming your faith

In the God you loved

And feared,

Before

You became all this,

And more,

You stood near the window,

Waiting for her to return.

You had sent your daughters,

One by one,

To bring back their mother

From an afternoon tea.

Without her

Your world became a needle.

With her

Your attic became a sea.

Did it occur to you

That you were rehearsing

The genes you would bequeath to me?

Before

You became a box.


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