423: poem for palm pressed upon pane

423: poem for palm pressed upon pane

423: poem for palm pressed upon pane

poem for palm pressed upon pane
by Marwa Helal

i am in the backseat. my father driving. from mansurah to cairo. delta to desert,

heliopolis. a path he has traveled years before i was born. the road has changed but the

fields are same same. biblical green.

                                          hazy green, when i say: this is the most beautiful tree i have ever

seen. and he says, all the trees in masr are the most beautiful. this is how i learn to see.

                     we planted pines. four in a row. for privacy. for property value. that was

                     ohio. before new mexico. before, i would make masr

                                    my own. but after my mother tells me to stop       asking her what is wrong

whenever i see her staring

out of the living room window. this is how trauma learns to behave. how i learn to push

against the page. i always give hatem the inside seat.

              so he can sleep. on the bus.                             his warm cheek against the cold

window. when i am old enough to be aware of leaving. it is raining hard.
                                                   5000 miles away, there is a palm. in a pot. its leaves

pressed. skinny neck bent. a plant seeking light in an animal kingdom.

"Poem for palm pressed upon pane" by Marwa Helal, from INVASIVE SPECIES by Marwa Helal, copyright © 2019 Marwa Helal. Used by permission of Nightboat Books.