My Heart Is an Extremity by Siham Karami

My Heart Is an Extremity

Who crowned the heads of conquerors with leaves?
You slam the door. I’m rolling up my sleeves.

We read each other’s eyes and almost drown
like gypsies rendered speechless by the leaves.

Then winter strips us down to skeletons:
static, silence, sparks are all it leaves.

What is this archaeology of love,
brushing fragile shards, preserving leaves?

Waking to a gentle blush, we whisper
truth in half-words, all the heart believes.

We slowly die, let loose from the tree,
then whirl in restless, weightless crowds of leaves.

Your hands dry out like parchment on their bones,
but longing for their firm grip never leaves.

The spine holds words together, names the whole
but we extract their meaning from the leaves.

Don’t measure time, Siham, by things that fall,
but by the upward thrust of newborn leaves.

by Siham Karami, first published in Angle Poetry

Twitter: @SihamKarami

Editor’s Note: The imagery in this poem is unexpected, making it easy to picture the scenes detailed by the repetition of “leaves.” The longing that underpins the ghazal form is beautifully illustrated here.

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