“As If I Had Been the Harp Then and the Hidden Music”

for Miss May Ziadeh

You were close to me last night with your compassion and how you were cherishing me; I felt the feather-soft way your fingers moved through my hair, the shape of your hands familiar and welcome…You placed your face close to mine and whispered in my ear a little while, quick soft words much too quiet for me to comprehend, more the breath than the language, and you had no pain – yours or mine – letting your face close to mine and gazing at me, as my eyes would gently close…

I opened my eyes a moment, the sky was a blushing pink like I’d not seen it yet this spring, the color and thought I’d thanked you for many times…I was still too languid to send a kiss then; it was back to blue in a moment, warm blue like a delicious ice pop I was too languid to eat, and I‘d fallen asleep.

I opened my eyes as I woke this morning, the dawn sky was another pink, windingly full calligraphy without words in soft, full blushing pink curves of sky giving way to blue.

I sent a few quick kisses from my lips to my fingers pressing them toward the sky when I’d sat up to stretch. I had one day learned, since I’d sent heaven kisses that way, that you had written in your biography book of a woman poet named Aisha Taymur who was just before your time but you had met her and wished to honor her. To anticipate the readers as you were about to describe this past poet in her home setting, you’d written, ”Why rely on the imagination when you can just break in? Here’s a place we can enter through the fence,” and we do ’enter’ with a warm description of Taymur’s home and country of birth. You’d been been amused and pleased with how you’d found it was a custom of the Turkish people to send quick kisses with their fingers when a welcome guest walked in; I’d sent you kisses like these not knowing; you’d written amused and gladdened by this how the kisses were so quick and soft and many, like ”how little birds send kisses.” My heart is warm with love now; I am too subdued to laugh, but there is always later.

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