Apartment Poetry Quarterly

5A              5B              5C              5D              5E              5F


5C Siwar Masannat



Ishmael:            "Weather-torn & shorn mountain
                           Goat-hair tent beneath—
                           Legs crossed on desert sand”

Fadia:                from between two crouching rocks a rose door

Ishmael:            “a lapping tongue across—”

Fadia:                not licking, but latched door

Ishmael:            “a city once defeated by water—”

Fadia:                Siq, or shaft, dramatically naturally positioned—holding water.

                           A cluster of dust sailing across to Wadi Mussa


Fadia, I say I dare not blink. If I could,
hide you in my eyelids & the nation,

too. Skip the pencilling of that plane—

It can claim a rain after cautionary papers
have planted themselves by your pillow.

No—missiles signed— goat-hair
tent here—camp of concrete.


Alphabet Women:                     Under the bridge, under the bus
                                                      we carry beautiful eyes

Fadia:                                           How an olive tree is skinny—in its branches

Alphabet Women:                     Do not lay down for a gaze, no veil & unveil:
                                                      We reveal red sand under fingernails

Fadia:                                           Our fingernails immersed

Alphabet Women:                     Chase Ishmael away, chase sand from his eyes
                                                      so he shall see the olive tree & let her—

Fadia:                                           After the English crucified fathers on a cactus tree for two days & fathers never                                                       confessed

Alphabet Women:                     Then yesterday breaks—on the ground

Fadia:                                           Shrapnel of yesterday Ishmael constructs into a mirror:
                                                      Image not ours after us



What is it that averted
my eyes off yours, Fadia—
or is the word Arabic, a word for reply?

My eyes—eyelids heavy— is it
sleep? Between your eyes & mine
a rifle.



Fucking— is it anger in the hazel
of your eyes? Might be
the perpetual green of your land.
I will blow on olive
trees until the fake branches

disappear, or pluck black
irises for a wedding wreath.



Fadia, please come flying
over pillars, all seven of them
& the wisdom will rub me until
I come flying too—I warn you: I may be eating
my words behind the hem
of your skirt.                  On the hill,

rather your courtyard,
Ishmael built himself a dwelling.



Come for words under the desert, not
Ishmael’s fists under sand searching
for kin he killed by friendly fire.

I have seen them all, framed by black rectangles & glowing.
Their eyes nothing in them hazel.